Everyone's End-of-Life Journey.·
I learned difficult life lessons after my mother’s first stroke in June 2017. To this day, because of the 2.5 year-long Journey (4 years, if you include the subsequent pandemic), I struggle with trauma and anxiety, escaping to alcoholism and occassionally erupting in emotional outbursts. My friends know. They’ve seen the worst in me. They’re still my friends and I truly love them for that…
I hope to share those lessons, in hopes that anyone experiencing the same knows that they are not alone. It’s a wild ride.
The Primary Angel 😇
There’s always 1 person giving it all. It might be their spouse, you, your sibling or distant relative. Usually, there’s always one Michael Jordan carrying the team, unless everyone agrees to split duties equally…
Who’s that #1? Probably the one who knows their schedule, the proper diet, handling insurance claims, picking up groceries, picking up and administering prescription drugs, understanding bowel movements… Someone who is putting in the majority of the time to care for and endure everything…
Support them fully. They need the help as much as your loved one ❤️.
This is probably the biggest lesson that I learned…
Don’t Take it Personally
And, if you’re supporting the #1, don’t mind their rants, tears, and anger. They are most likely overwhelmed with caring for your loved one ❤️. Let go of your ego. It’s physically and emotionally fuckin’ hard.
As I cared for mom, I conjured the narrative of The Mission, where her comfort and our connection IS the ultimate goal. Money might be tight sometimes, never enough time, mental and emotional distress, ridiculous insurance bills arrive, family members grumble, shit hits fan, etc…
During the Journey, there will always be obstacles and setbacks. Sometimes hitting you one at a time or all at once. Take a deep breath. Prioritize. One problem at one time, then move on to the next one. There’s no end to the obstacles, and you just need to know how to deal with them properly.
If you’re lucky to have a support group, reframing the narrative also refocuses the whole team’s energy towards who and what is most important. Again, it’s not about the individual, the ego… it’s about your loved one ❤️
Don’t bicker on who is putting the most hours or money. The team should rally around the real goal: figuring how best they can contribute to the loved one ❤️ … Everything else other than The Mission is just noise.
Similar to other relationships, unmet expectations can lead to resentment and squabbles. During the Journey, not every person can give more… and that’s fine. Set the bar low and focus on The Mission. This is especially crucial for the #1 who is caring fully for the loved one ❤️.
Being Their Strength
Every parent wants safety and security for their children. Let The Journey conclude knowing that you’re strong. Even though you might not feel it, smile and express strength and courage, loving them fully until they can finally close their eyes… Show resilience as you would for your children…
There will plenty of Moments. The stories. The tears. The warmth.
Even in the toughest of times, there’s brilliance and happiness and understanding and connection and love ❤️ … There’s nothing better than holding onto those moments.
I love you mom.