About two months ago my mother in law passed away. I lost my best friend and partner in crime. We spent an amazing month together laying on her bed laughing, going for walks to be in nature, or just going for a car ride. Whatever we did we had zero expectations or plans we just did whatever we wanted to do. She would text me in the am and say “I’m ready, when are you coming.” I would be so happy to walk into her room and to see her smiling face. How I miss those days.
I had accepted that the cancer would take her life and I was determined to be with her and help her make the short time she had left memorable.She fought so hard and had already given cancer five months of her life. It was time to surround her with love, acceptance and the grace to stop fighting and enjoy the little things.
I remember that afternoon when I pushed her out in her wheelchair. We walked a little path behind the hospice house. It was beautiful path with a little lively stream on one side and gardens on the other. We started talking about what the doctor and nurses said, and she told me what her plan would be. It was such a hard conversation to have. No one really knows the dying process as it is unique to everyone. Yes there are signs that visibly show the body is shutting down, but emotionally it is still hard to comprehend. It is human nature to want to have control, over our bodies and minds. We want to be able to make decisions and have control over our life.
It was in that moment, I realized how she truly felt. I hugged her and held her and said, “Mom I understand. I am here to love you and support you. I will be a fly on the wall to watch over you and protect you while you pass.” She always took care of everyone, and I told her it was my turn to take care of her. We would do this together.
Going through the dying process, I realized that acceptance is fundamental. Acceptance, makes the whole “dying process” a lot easier. It is hard when we are in the situation, especially if it is our first time, to remember it is really about our loved one and their wishes. It isn’t about ourselves and the time we will be missing with them etc. Absolutely we wish we could have more time together, travel the world and for our loved one to “be better.” But once we “accept” there is a freedom that brings zero expectations that allows us to live in the moment. We need to remember they are here and this is now; time matters.
So here is the only advice I can offer anyone caring for a terminally ill loved one. Enjoy the little things and take each day, hour and minute as it comes. If you feel like holding your loved one, hold them. There may never be a perfect time. You may miss that moment. Shower them in love,and the freedom to be where they are at. Make the difficult decisions for them, they don’t have to do it anymore. Surround them with love and laughter. They want to still feel included; they aren’t gone yet.
I want to end on a happier note. One of my favorite memories was taking mom to stretch in the hospice living room. We would lye on our back and hold yoga stretches; she would just smile as I would rub her back, legs and arms. Then she would say, let’s go and get some ice cream exercises are over. That was our routine. I laughed because, not many people would agree to have ice cream after working out. But in our situation, why not.
Thank you for reading my post; I think I am going to get an ice cream because that is what she would have wanted me to do.
I love you Momma.