A friend of mine shared with me last week that her Mom had fallen and broken her legs. When they got her Mom to the hospital to take care of her, tests revealed a greater health concern that may never have been discovered if she hadn’t fallen. Blessing in disguise? She has to be home now to take care of her Mom. She is scared about what lies ahead.
This morning, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook that Hospice has been called for her mother. There is no more treatment to be given. I could feel her pain in reading her words. Words to her husband thanking him for being her rock, and her comfort. Words of acceptance as to what was ahead for them.
What can you possibly to say to a person to comfort them when they are faced with the fragility and the mortality of their parents? What words in the English language could bring them comfort? The answer to that is none of them. None of them.
If it hadn’t been for my kids venting to me about Grandma stopping at green lights and going at red lights, my Mom’s illness may not have been caught as early as it was. For 8 years, we rode the roller coaster of Alzheimers. We went through the stages with her. Denial. Anger. Sadness. Acceptance. Dependence. We loved her through it all. It was the long slow goodbye. I experienced pretty much all of the same symptoms with her, except the last one. I couldn’t fall apart. I had to be strong. I was needed, and I had to be strong.
It took about a year before I finally had my “drowning in grief” moment. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack; it hurt that much. It didn’t matter that time had passed. That I had been given a very long time to know it was coming. I was surrounded by the love of my children and by the love and support of Rick and yet I felt alone in my grief. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be, though. Mourning the loss of what was……of the vital person you once knew, of their declining health, of their pain, or of their absence from our lives is as personal as it gets.
I ask myself at times if my Mom would be proud right now of how I handled things. Did she know I helped take care of her? Does she understand now? The resounding answer I get back each and every time is……she knows, and so does yours. When your Mom reaches up for you to help her, she knows. When you close the bathroom door and cry in the shower, she knows. When you lie and say you have allergies because your nose is running as you fight back tears, she knows. She gave birth to you, she raised you to be the woman she sees in front of her today and she knows you are doing the best that you can.
So today I say to you…..and not just to these two beautiful women who are wrapped up in my heart tonight…….what I say to you is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Be in your moment. Allow yourself to feel but don’t lose your strength. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I am sending positive energy to your parents. For their recovery, and for their peace.