I am one of the counselors at Like Skills Resource Group in Orlando. I am also a human being with my own life experiences. This blog posting is written more from a personal, rather than professional, perspective.
As I cleaned out some old files recently, I came across something I wrote in the days preceding my mother’s death in April, 2001.I am working with several clients who are working through their own grief right now.I share my words of coming-to-acceptance to honor all those who courageously do the hard work of grieving.
My 66 y.o. mother is dying. The cancer has advanced. There is no more treatment. My mother says she is tired of fighting it, she can’t tolerate the way she feels any more, she is ready to go. She looks so fragile and vulnerable.
I ask her if she is scared of dying. She says she is a little, because she doesn’t really know what it is going to be like, even though she holds strong faith beliefs. I am scared for her. I don’t like hearing that she is scared because I don’t know how to help her with that. I don’t have a sense of how she handles fear. I project my own reactions to fear on her and wish I could protect her from having to experience all that. She’s going some place that I can’t go with her. I don’t like that either.
The little girl that still lives in me feels panicked that my second parent is about to die. I feel kind of abandoned, a bit lost and alone—scared that no one is left to watch out for me. I have to give myself a bit of a shake and remind myself that I am an adult now. I have to purposely reach down inside of myself to find my own faith beliefs and spiritual connections—remind myself of what I believe to be true, find comfort from my spirituality and my other relationships.
I know in my head that this is the flow of life—that death is not a bad thing but part of the cycle of life. I am not being punished. I am not alone. I will go on and enjoy the remainder of my life. And then I will face my own death and help my children to let me go.
I am finally glad for all the memories of my parents—both good and bad. I am glad that I was a child and now I’ve grown up. At 42, I finally feel almost confident that I do have some answers. I am still sad for the empty space that my mother’s death will leave, though.
Sadness and fear sometimes choke me, keep me from being able to breathe right, squeeze my heart and make me feel like vomiting. I cry often to let these feelings out. And then, I again remember the cycle of life as a normal life process.
I take a deep breath. I take a step. I hold my mother’s hand. I parent my children. I go to work. I make dinner. I pay the bills. I talk to my family and friends. I talk to God. I call my former counselor.
I wonder when my mother will slip away and whether I will be with her. The nights I stay with her, I wonder if I will find her dead when I wake up. I imagine the whole funeral thing. I feel tired. Saying good-bye is so hard and yet I feel blessed to have been given the experience. There is something beautiful in it all. It is bittersweet.
I can finally feel that good-bye does not mean loss of connection.
Life happens to all of us. Sometimes, it is hard. We all need each other in the living of this life. Please know that the counselors and life coaches at Life Skills Resource Group of Orlando are here for you. If you are grieving, or having something else in your life that you would really like to talk through with someone, click here to read our profiles. Feel free to give any of us a call for a FREE Phone consultation to talk about what’s going on with you and to schedule an appointment. Jean