Random thoughts from a hellacious month! When Monday evening ends, I will have experienced 709 full months of life. During those months I’ve had some very challenging client / case experiences. I survived the Great Recession. Pneumonia has invaded my lungs 4x. I fret about a pre-cancerous esophagus. My marriage failed. I spoke at my dad’s memorial service almost 15 years ago. Etc.
My ride has been impressively easy! Hard as it might have been, though, short of losing a child I can’t imagine anything ever being tougher than dealing with the passage of my vital, busy, working mom after a pretty brief—less than three week—final illness. Here are some random thoughts:
Advance Planning Helps. When your loved one suffers and wants to recover, you don’t want to be talking about wills, charitable bequests, etc. Git ‘er done when everyone is healthy. The guide on my blog site provides basic advice.
Auto-Pay. I pay almost all of my bills online, but control has kept me away from auto-pay. No more, for when the electric company calls with a shut off notice during your mom’s graveside service, the stress associated with the problem outweighs that control thing. (I forgot to pay. Resolved, in time.)
Belong. If religion matters, join a church, synagogue or mosque. Have a relationship with a man or woman of the cloth. Good ones matter very much, especially when bad news comes hard and fast!
Children. Hard times tell. My daughter Cate stepped up in ways totally imaginable … but, then, there’s imagining and watching for real. She’s a rock star! (Her cousins are mighty special too.)
Facebook Shines. I’m a social media junkie. And in tragic situations, I’m “over the moon” about Facebook. Post about an illness or a passing and the comfort comes, from all quarters. Many poke fun at reports about meals, being here and there, etc., but for getting people focused on support in difficult times, no better vehicle exists.
Family. I’m so blessed. We have a mixed family, comprised of 20+ siblings, quasi-siblings (the “steps” if the ‘rents had married), cousins, fiancés, girlfriends, etc. Everyone pulled together, with but one tough moment—caused by yours truly, as a result of overload, and forgiven in moments—over more than three challenging weeks. That’s an outcome for which my mom and Irwin—and all of their progeny, biological and otherwise—deserve much credit. In too many situations a passing unleashes lots of awful.
Friends. We sent my mom off with a party, which is what she would have wanted. About 200 people attended, and the range told me much about my mom and our family. Old friends and new ones, with a variety of connections to my mom, me, my sisters, Irwin, his son Stephen, and many others. My mom’s crew of craftsmen. (Her paper hanger reminded me that he had worked for her for 20 years or so, and had replaced his father.) Clients. Neighbors.
Goodness Abounds. My family was supposed to be in Mexico last week. When not going was certain, I reached out to the couple who owned the units my mom and Irwin had rented. They owed us nothing, but they stepped up right away, contacted the resort, worked the process, and we got a complete refund.
Hospital Bells. The bells are constant. You ask about them, of course, because you can’t sit in a room with someone you love and ignore them. Worst answer I heard from a nurse? “If the bell is ringing and it matters, we’ll know.” So fricking turn the bells off in the rooms. They irritate patients, worry family members and friends. And, if the responding nurse tells it true, they don’t matter. (By the way, yet again, I was thoroughly impressed by the floor staff in the hospital.)
Middle of the Night Phone Calls. The first call came at 1:45 a.m. on October 4. The last one at 1:40 a.m. on October 22. Calls that awaken you never bring good news!
Pets. Don’t forget your pets. An illness and passing challenges all of us who walk upright and talk, but animals may have it worse. Routine gets shot, and face time goes away. Focus when you can, and make arrangements for the rest of the time.
Finally, thanks to all of you, my readers, for letting me share a part of my life. In the main, I’m done. Cate’s plane landed a few minutes ago, Max got his long Sunday walk and Rochelle tells me it’s time to get moving. Life marches on. We never forget, but we must live on!