I see that many of us are coming to the point in our lives where our parents are nearing the end of their time here or they have already passed over. It is a sobering realization that they will not live forever and neither will we.
I visited my mother this week in her assisted living home in Nevada. She walks more slowly, my father must feed her, she enjoys singing hymns and childhood songs – she does not remember much else.
Doris was an elementary teacher for about 30 years. She has letters from grown former 2nd grade students saying how much she meant to them in their young age. She raised 4 children. She put together photo albums of her trips with her husband and family with handwritten captions. She knew the names of many native plants and used to point them out when we took walks in Point Reyes. She made sure we all took swimming lessons so we learned a skill she did not have herself. I am missing her.
I am learning about hospice. I have mixed feelings about what they are about. I appreciate their help, but their questions are hard and real – “have you picked a mortuary? Do you have her papers in order? Have you thought about the funeral?” I wonder why they do not ask, “have you told your mother you love her lately? or “Do you hold her hand?”
They say no one knows when she will die, but the assisted living home recommended hospice help. The diagnosis must be 6 months or less, but they say that is just a formality. Some people are on hospice for years.
I read this today and it helped:
It seems that we are humbled before the great events of life. Events over which we have no power, no influence. Events that do not play fair. To be humbled like this is not meant to be punishment, but rather Death grooming us to awaken.”
– Stephanie Erickson, Companion Through the Darkeness.