You’re sitting at your desk at work and the phone rings. It’s your Dad letting you know your Mom was just rushed to the hospital after passing out at work. They aren’t sure, but it looks like a bleeding ulcer.
I’ll never forget that day 35 years ago and almost passing out myself at the news. Just how bad was it, what did it all mean, what happens next? All those thoughts and more were running through my head. Dad had spoken to my supervisor, and someone from the bank was going to drive me to the hospital, they knew I’d be too upset to drive myself safely.
I still remember seeing Mom lying there in the hospital, so pale with an IV coming from her hand. I fought back tears as I sat down and gently rubbed her soft skin near the injection point, I still remember how it felt. Gratefully she survived that and in time bounced back to her usual self.
I remembered that time as I was racing behind the ambulance by myself after she was rushed to the hospital two years ago, ultimately being the last time I’d ever do that. Desperately wanting to go back in time, my gut wrenching as I knew what was happening this time. And all of the years in between with the most recent few becoming her caregiver. Those moments are firmly etched in my memory and to this day, still take my breath away.
Can you ever really prepare for the moment that you lose your loved one? I wish I could give you all the right answers, the things to do to soften that shift in your life, but I can’t. You may have started the grieving process months ago due to a long-term illness or cognitive/memory decline, or merely seeing the day to day changes. Regardless of the circumstances the loved one that you once knew is changing irrevocably.
This article; “How to Let Go When a Loved One is Dying” speaks so well about the process. The line that stands out to me is “It is very important to take good care of — and be kind to — yourself.” That may well be the most crucial thing you can do.
On Wednesday, January 10th at 9:30 AM PST, I will be presenting a webinar on Physical Fitness for Family Caregivers. Having been a family caregiver myself, I understand the importance of caring for yourself and the reasons why you don’t. It’s easy to register right on the Breathing Spaces website. Even if you miss the live webinar, you’ll receive a recording of it to watch at your convenience.
Be kind to yourself,