Thursday, August 19, 2010

Perspective

I am home now for a few days, and am settling back into the strange rhythm of being home alone. Poor DH is down there in Florida dealing with Doctors and case workers and confusion and frankly, I'm glad to be here. I have simply vegged out for the past few days - working on a sweater that I started in Florida, sorting out laundry, working etc. All the normal stuff.

I think that everyone knows that no matter how old you are, and how old your parents are, and how independent one is....the fear of change and loss is always the same. Sure, it's easier to rationalize death when someone is 85 years old - but all the old adages of "she lived a good life" and "she's no spring chicken" fall flat when it is a parent. When my dad died, I certainly expected it, and it was no surprise to any of us but we would have given alot for a few extra years. (I miss dad - miss seeing him at the house, miss his snarky comments)

My MIL has been a widow since she was 42 years old with two teenage children at home. She lost a baby when it was two days old. She lost a daughter who was 53. One sister died, the other lives in Long Island but it's "too far to travel". Neither of her sisters ever had children so no nieces and nephews. But the past 4 years have been a time of relief for her in many ways. Once Lucile (her daughter) died, MIL moved away from Washington where she had been helping Lu with her kids and with a lousy illness. We rented her a lovely apartment near my parents, and she has made friends, goes to the movies every Sunday, plays tennis and bridge and goes to the gym. I think that despite everything in her life, we've helped her live the past 4 years free from worry - and I'm so glad we did that. She's friends with my mom, they get along great.

What am I trying to say? I'm not really sure. I just know that the next few months are going to be an interesting journey for us all. My optimistic side says "she's go on for a year and not have misery or pain and things will be OK". My realistic medical side says "nah - not so much".

I'm going to learn alot about myself, and my hubby that's for sure.

Thank you all again for your support and good wishes. Some of you have gone thru this already, some haven't - and while there certainly is no rule book to follow - it helps to know how other have navigated the elderly parents waters.

12 comments:

Lynn said...

Well here I am again. I am glad you are home and having a break so to speak from the "business at hand" with your dear MIL. One needs to get distance during this time.
I hope your DH will also get to take breaks. Does he have other sibs to help out as well? Or is it just him? I hope friends can spell you both at times. You'll need it.

I hear you about missing your dad.

I agree about age not being the factor here. End of life stuff is hard no matter WHEN or at WHAT AGE it occurs.

I think people don't talk about this end of life enough. So then when it affects us personally we are shocked by it...pushed to the edge. Don't know what to expect, how to act, what to feel, etc. etc. etc. Or are overwhelmed by our feelings. Surprised.

Since I've lost both parents now I guess that makes me somewhat of a pro. I sure know how it feels. (even though I also know it's different for everyone)

If you feel like talking email me.
Or just keep blogging and I'll just keep responding. I think having people out there even if far away physically can be helpful/comforting somehow. Or so I hope.

Be gentle with yourself.

Baruch Ha Shem Mim...We can say the mishabera prayer for mom. :-)

love and hugs from me

marianne said...

Hi Mim,
There are no ways to say things to comfort.....
When you loose a loved one there is just a hole.....
A colleague of mine told me something about losing his dad (we just both had loosed our dads shortly then) he said life just lost that little gold lining.... Thought this was so true. That's how it felt for me too.
Of course when I look at my Mom now and see how she gets old in such a human unworthy way I am glad my dad died after being ill for 10 days.
I think you always need a thought to be able to accept things.
I think thats what it is about when people say things those adages and they say it because they care for you and want to make you better.
You are going through a difficult time and more is ahead.Poor you....
All I can do is to keep you in my thoughts and give you a comforting big hug!

>M<

Katiejane said...

We can only deal with each day as it gets here. Fretting about the future is futile. Today is all we have and we must all make the best of it.
My thoughts are with you.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are right Mim, it is easier when you have support. If ever I can listen or say anything to help just email. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your DH.

sukipoet said...

Im so sorry Mim. It seems just a short bit ago your dad died and now to face your MIL's uncertain circumstance, it is a lot. Both my parents are dead. Mom just a little under two years. I miss them both dreadfully. Really, in memory it is more their life moments I remember, not their death experience though that too effected me strongly.

How odd that even though we all know about death, it is so hard to accept that our bodies and souls are vulnerable. Perhaps the soul lives on, depending on your way of looking at things some people feel this, but the person...they seem to be gone to those of us who are left. Life is so odd. That we should be here and then not.

Sending hugs and prayers and thoughts as you and your DH and your mIL and your mom as friend to MIL proceed forward.

studio lolo said...

I'm sure you'll have a million thoughts running through your head as each day of your MIL's illness unfolds. And a million questions. "What if we had done this...? or that?" Just know there's nothing you or DH could have done to prevent this. It sounds like it's been percolating undetected for some time now. So sad.

I lost both parents within 13 months. I also lost a business and went through a divorce that same year. I never thought I'd survive.
I was only 33~lots to go through at any age.
Being with both parents as they left this world was difficult but something I'm glad I did. It changed me somehow.

What I wish for your MIL is a pain free journey. I'd love to hear she has a good chunk of quality time left. I hope you get that news.

I don't have any adages or wisdom to impart. This is your journey, and hers mostly and of course, T's.
What I do know is that she doesn't doubt for a moment how loved she is, or that she feels alone. That's a gift she'll always have and take with her.

Stay strong Mim so you don't get sick. Same for T, my goodness. I know how much his mom means to him.

Meanwhile I'll keep all of you in my prayers and my heart.

love,
Lo♥

kj said...

it is hard and it will be hard. but it's also REAL. and i've found that there is grace in real.

it was an honor to help my Father die. my memories are not painful. they are good. if you can be sure to take time for yourself too (you have to, mim) you may find that all this love trumps the dying part.

this is the one thing i want to say to you and to t too, mim: you may find that your MIL needs to be up here, with you both, as time passes and her needs increase. it may just be real and true that you and t cannot manage to help her most, or yourselves, if she stays so far away. i hope you will give yourselves permission to consider this.

i love you mim, always will
kj

Robin said...

Dear Mim,
I am glad you are away from all of the immediate stress and confusion for a few days. Hopefully you and your DH can take turns staying with your MIL..it sounds like she has many friends in Florida....will they be able to spend time with her? All three of you should try to keep some normalcy in your lives - as long as possible.

I don't have many words of wisdom for you....you know I lost both my parents a long time ago...my Mum quickly, without much warning, my Dad, slowly....but, you are never fully prepared to deal with the earthly finality of death. The spiritual feelings of remaining close are there....but it takes time to realise it. At the same time, the will to LIVE is STRONG...I am praying your MIL will have a long while to still enjoy life.

I, too, am here if ever you want to talk.... sometimes you just need to vent....

Know that you and DH have given your MIL more than four years of a good life....you have given her love and emotional support...the most importrant things in the world. She knows this. We all know this.... you remember it too.

Love,

♥ Robin ♥

soulbrush said...

oh god mim, how does one ever know what another person is going through at a time like this. no matter how old or even young, when it's family- it's family and that's why it hurts extra hard.
twelve members of my family died in the early eighties,none in their beds of old age-- my mom and dad at 57 and 59...what can I say? it all hurts like hell. am here for you to e mail too, anytime- you know that.

Lori ann said...

I'm so sorry Mim, I cannot add anything to the beautiful words left her for you. I am going through the same thing with my own Mom, but it's hard for me to write about. Because you are brave, your comments here help me too. Thank you and big hugs to you.
Many blessings,
lori

Baino said...

Ah Mim, I can't really add more than has been said here. It is a journey that's to be sure and we're travelling with you. Yes, been through it before but it's no less painful even when you're talking about an elderly person, losing a family member or friend is always difficult. It's important to lean on the support you have. We're all on the journey together.

PAK ART said...

I have no advice, only sympathy for the journey you will be traveling. I've never lost anyone close to me. I have watched some from our church family go through cancer and other illnesses that lead to death and I can tell you that knowing you have an eternal life is what gets many people through the pain. I don't know your beliefs, but hope that you find comfort in an eternal life.