I just read a very touching comment left by a person sitting at their mothers bedside. Sharing their last moment on this earth together. How many times have i said I believe it is harder on the families when the situation gets to that point. Forced to sit helplessly, wanting so badly to be able to do something, anything for their loved one.
It is a fact of live that we already have or most likely will face that situation at some point. How do we prepare our selves to deal with the passing of a loved one. I am not sure you can ever totally be prepared. We may even know a loved one has a terminal illness or is even just well advanced in years. We know their time on this earth is limited. Some where in the back of our minds we accept this. Maybe we accept the idea more in the abstract or something. We know it to be a fact but somehow that thought remains almost unreal.
There is a huge difference between knowing something in your head and feeling it in your heart. I don’t know but I think for most, I think the real feeling of it in your heart only comes when we get THE PHONE CALL. The phone call that ……….. has happened and you should get to the hospital immediately . It is then the true weight of the situation hits you with that hollow empty feeling inside. We can no longer keep that bit of information or reality tucked away in the back of our minds. Suddenly it is reality and it hits you smack in the face.
My heart and prayers go out to each and every person or family in this difficult time.
I am open to ideas or suggestions, how do we help families prepare
A suggestion, Bill:
Hospice helps families members a great deal – at whatever stage they are at in their grief.
Hospice Companions learn to listen and listen more. That may include asking the odd question, offering a possible reference if asked, but always allowing them to empty to whatever degree they are able.
Sometimes, the best way for people to open up is to invite them for a walk – get them out of the emotional closeness for a while.
Sometimes, they don’t open. That’s up to them. How people grieve is as individual as fingerprints. People who tell others when or what they need to be feeling at any particular time are out of line.
Grief can’t be “fixed”. It has to be lived through.
As a Hospice Companion, I had hoped I could take a shortcut.
When my mom died, I found out there’s no such thing!
Despite knowing my dad could not recover for more than a year, despite many months of hoping for a miracle and then coming to half hope for death as his pain grew and his life shrunk, I was still surprised when we finally came to the end.
For me it helped a lot to know that all that had to be said had been. I had said my ‘i love yous’ and I knew how he felt too. It also helped to know his wishes – so that as far as we could we could honour them and honour him through them… when the world seems to have ended the little things can be something to hang on to.
I tried to help the children in my life ‘prepare’, best I could.
I discovered that it really wasn’t ‘my job’ to do that. I could bring them truths, I could ‘make arrangements’, I could deal in realities (best I could at their ages) and still be the constant reminder of what they weren’t going to have and what they were going to lose.
I remember being screamed at to “STOP TALKING ABOUT IT”.
It’s just where they were. They had the facts, they were dealing the best they could–and I discovered that it really was my job to love them best I could, every day…….that G-d would take care of the ‘getting through it’ and all of my trying to talk it wasn’t helping them.
They talked it in other places. They talked it with other people. They had their own processes to go through and their hearts desire was to retain a sense of normalcy in the ordeal….a relationship with me based on LIFE, not on death.
The best gift I gave was the gift of letting go and trusting that others would be put in their path to walk through it with them.
I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s and took care of the details–but the emotional ‘stuff’ was just what you wrote above. They knew it in their heads and weren’t settled on it dropping into their hearts. It would drop without their permission–and there were people who’d be there for them and walk through it with them. I could only walk so far through the circumstances….they’d come to rely on another. I reconciled myself to that and found peace in that, quite frankly. It freed me up to just love ’em best I could TODAY. And it let them be where their feet WERE that day. It didn’t need to be ‘me taking care of it’……it just needed to be me loving as I wanted to love, TODAY.
I still operate under that ‘rule’. It’s worked for me and for them. The rest–I trust will be taken care of.
G-d’s good like that.
Hi Bill .. I’m not sure .. but perhaps if there’s a tragedy early in life -that helps understanding through the rest of life (I’ve seen someone grow that way). So I would say we need to be more open about terminal illness and use examples to help people learn and appreciate what may come. The shock is horrible and the nature of the illness may not be realised or appreciated …
Perhaps encourage our young to spend some time working with various charities to give them some perspective …
You have some wonderful comments above – so salient. Can we be prepared … probably not, but it helps to have some comprehension and to look at how so many die and the way it happens. Then perhaps we can each be a little more ready ..
With thoughts – Hilary