7 seconds

It’s said that your life can change in a split second, or in the case of Mama J’s New Adventure, seven seconds.

Seven seconds. That’s how long it took for me to take Mama J’s dishes to the kitchen, to hear a noise, and to rush back to the dining room to find her on the floor. I know because I looked at the camera footage when I was beating myself up trying to figure out what I could have done differently. My sweet husband assured me that even if I had still been sitting there, she would have fallen anyway, and I might have hurt her worse in trying to grab her. But still.

This morning I’m sitting at the hospice facility, where Mama J is propped up in a chair, sleeping, mouth open and looking exactly like what she is, a little old lady in hospice. The television was on when I first got here, and my first thought was, I’ll admit, irritation: Y’all don’t know her at all. She never watches TV, except for Jeopardy, like clockwork.


Mama J was transported here by ambulance yesterday after a second fall yesterday morning when her brain told her to go outside and get her newspaper and her body had other plans. After the fall alert sounded, B and I found her sitting on the bottom step outside her apartment, dazed and bleeding from a cut on her shin. It wasn’t until much later, stroking her hair away from her forehead, that we found the purple goose egg swelling there. Unable to rouse her from deep slumber, her hospice nurse decided to move her to hospice inpatient to see if she could be stabilized.

Waiting for the ambulance to take your mom away feels like an eternity.

For the past two weeks, Mama J has been getting shorter of breath. She didn’t tell me this directly, of course, stoic as she is, but she did tell B. Her caregiver noticed that she hadn’t seemed well for a week or so. And she was withdrawn, uncharacteristically quiet, one day at lunch last week. Friday night she turned away homemade pizza, one of her favorite foods.

On Saturday morning after our long run, we had a missed call and voicemail from her. “Brian, it’s Mom,” she said. “I need help. I’m confused. I don’t know what day it is. I mean, I know it’s Saturday, but I don’t know what day it is.”

And then, one fall, two. Three days of solid sleep. Four days with little to no food. And a mama who, in waking, repeats “Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla” over and over and over. Our lives changed forever, again.

Read about our adventures from the beginning here: And Mama J makes 3

Next post: Rest

18 thoughts on “7 seconds

  1. Hang in there Gail. You are Brain are her shinning stars. So glad you get to spend this time with her and not have to be so far away. Although I know it is difficult I know you will look back and be so happy Love and hugs and prayers Jen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thinking of you, Gail. My dad just went to Skip Schulz’s memorial service on Saturday. I know the facts of life, but it’s hard to imagine the powerful people in your life struggling or leaving us to carry on. We only want them to be happy and at peace. I can’t help but think that “vanilla” is not a bad place to be right now. Thanks for keeping us updated with your sweet and memorable blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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