I spend a lot of time at my mother's house. She's not completely unable to take care of herself, but she can't be alone all the time. After a TIA late last Spring, the entire family wondered for awhile if she was gone forever. She was incoherent, very weak and we shared staying with her in the hospital.
She has a pacemaker, which prevents a knee surgery she needs, but she doesn't let this overwhelm her thoughts. Her short term memory isn't like it should be, but she manages. She's worked her way back to doing her daily bridge and word games in the paper. Her small circle of friends still play bridge one day each week and she insists on watching her favorite show, "Wheel of Fortune" every evening. These things are part of her regiment to use her mind and not allow the ravages of age to take away her ability to think.
I've sat many times and thought of the near future. I wonder how it will be when she passes. I hope it's quietly in her sleep and she never has to spend any more time in the hospital. When she was there before, her daily request was to go home. I think she wants her final time on Earth to be where she is comfortable and surrounded by those she loves.
So I wait. She might live for decades or for the night. I'll never know until it happens. Until then, I'll do what I can and hope her remaning time is with dignity and without suffering. I see her trepidation in enduring what's left and know she is fearful of things that she never feared before. It's hard to see and maybe, if God wills it, I'll be there at her last moments to see her off.