Monday, September 23, 2013


It happened so fast. My mother had been only home on Hospice for two weeks and then last Sunday night, September 15th she started to grow weak and could not eat. We quickly changed her medications and with antibodies were able to ease her pain and heart congestion. But at 91 my mother continued on a down hill spiral until only morphine and Ativan for anxiety were effective for her comfort.  Last Friday, her friend of 80 years (yes, 80 years!) Marie P. who is 90, came to see her with her daily companion. That morning our dedicated private caregivers washed and changed my mom,her bed linens, creamed her face and put on some light makeup for her guest. At precisely 11:30 AM her friend arrived and after 3 of us got Marie and her wheelchair into the living room, where my mom's bed was set up, we approached my mom, who had her eyes closed until then, and told her "Mom, your friend Marie is here". She immediately opened her eyes in recognition (it almost startled us) and put out her hand to Marie who grasped it weakly but held tight. It was an amazing moment to all of us who observed this incredible touching exchange between to life long friends. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. For two hours my mom was on and off responsive and when her friend left I went over to my mom to say how wonderful it was that Marie's daughter (my mother's godchild) could make this happen. My mom reached out both arms to me to hug me and I knew it was to thank me, too.  Only 2 nights before when my mother could still get words out of her severely dry throat she said to me, "I'm sorry I've been so much trouble."  No mom, I cried, would do it all again.
It has been a long and hard journey the past six years taking care of my mother and more so after my father died two years ago from Parkinson's Disease while on Hospice at our home. My mother had a heart attack in 2008 and for the past 6 years she has been in the hospital or ER thirty-one times and seeing seven different doctors! That's not counting the follow up doctor's visits, tests, MRI's, CAT SCANS, her multiple falls, fainting, infections, numerous blood tests, IV's and hundreds of trips to the drug store for her schedule of 15-20 various medications she took on a daily basis. All kept in log books, charts and the continued up-to-date briefings I had to inform to my 5 other care givers for the 24/7 care she got at home. (including my 40 hrs+ a week) For the first 4 years it was extremely difficult because I was taking care of my dad too. It's been a tough balancing act: with my own family and art business, at the same time preforming my duties as Executrix for my deceased friend's estate(which took over a year to settle) and the paranormal encounters at his house which led me to write my book Estate of Horror, but one I knew I had to do. 

Recently,we have had signs that are loved ones are waiting for her on the other side. My mom called out my dad's name and for her mother several days ago and my son and I felt a cool breeze over me to her exposed hand I was holding. It was like someone breathing on our hands! My son 's face got very hot (something that's happened before to him in our deceased friend's house) and heard 3 knocks from the kitchen. That happened to our caregiver and Hospice nurse in that same kitchen last week when they heard 2 sets of 3 knocks coming from the powder room next door. The nurse looked startled and asked,"Is this house haunted?" Our caregiver Denise just laughed,"No, but Anita's is and sometimes the ghosts travel with her to here." The nurse was silent for a moment and said, "Don't tell me anything else" and got back to writing in her log book. Thank goodness our caregivers have been with us for the last 2 years and know of my on going paranormal incidents and are very supportive.

The day my dad died (June 16, 2011) I was sitting with him quietly as my mother was taken for a doctor's appointment and I told him he could "go" as my mom would be taken care of. I saw a gold orb fly between us and then a dark shadow cross over his face. I knew "they" were waiting for him as we had heard the sounds of knocking on our front door days before (no one there) and the sound of someone shuffling with a cane down the tiled hallway (like my dad's father who died in 1985) when no one was there. That night he passed away and in the arms of his beloved wife of 65 years and buried with full honor guard. 

Several weeks later my son, Chris who I've mentioned is psychic, told me his grandfather came to him in a dream on July 4th to relay him to tell his wife and family he was fine (she was with his sister who had passed before him) and that his father, his dear friend Mario (Marie's husband who died 8 years ago) and his brother-in-law Tom (who died around the same time in June, about 15 years before and had very close birthdays) were there to greet him and cross him over. We were very comforted by that message.

As for my mom, she doesn't exhibit any signs of pain and is in a semi-coma. She stirs and knows when I'm there as hearing is the last thing they say goes in a case like this. So, yesterday I played some of her favorite music: Italian opera and songs recorded on CD of her departed friend Connie, who was an opera singer and had a beautiful voice even in her eighties. So we are on the "death watch" as they say. We have done all we can.

Even though we know her passing will be soon, one is never prepared for a parent's death. She has been a wonderful and beautiful mother, who always thought of her family first. 
Her Italian cooking (homemade spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna) and baking desserts (biscotti, pizzelles,chocolate chip cookies and cheese pies) were legendary. She was my dad's devoted wife and business partner and talented homemaker and hostess. She sewed her own clothes and her children's with professional results. She was direct, demanding, honest and funny, and the stories we could tell about our own"Lucille Ball" would fill a book. For example: In the nursing home last month she wasn't getting her pain medicine pain on time and threatened to her caregiver, "I'm calling 911, Denise, and have them light a fire under that nurse's butt if she doesn't come soon". Denise thought she would die from laughing! All the caregivers loved my mom-as they knew they were taking care of a unique person. She loved life every day because to her it was a gift, as she miraculously survived staphylococcal meningitis at the age of 19, and always had a smile when her children and grandchildren entered the room. One of the last things she did at home was to get out her recipe for her famous sour cream pound cake to bake for my twin brother and my birthday but she became too ill. Mom was a natural red head and was a real "pistol" as her heart surgeon called her and a ball of energy doing 3 things at once that her family could hardly keep up with. Yes, she was all that and more. As Andrea Bocelli sang yesterday it's "time to say goodbye" and when she passes there is no doubt she will be a force to be reckoned with even in Heaven. So look out Saint Peter here comes Aurora at the Pearly Gates. I hope you are all ready because there has been no one like her, ever. I will forever be grateful to have been her daughter. Ciao Mom and I'll see you in my dreams!