We all know that inevitably life ends with death, but it is a thought that we will constantly deny.
And then one day reality hits and we find ourselves next to the hospital bed of a loved one.
My dad died of cancer in 2003, and it was an incredibly difficult path to walk with him. To see this one strong and healthy man deteriorate until he barely makes a bump under the covers. To watch him struggle for every little life-giving breath…
Now, fifteen years later, I find myself once again next to the hospital bed of a parent. This time my mom, aged 82 – and the diagnosis stage 4 cancer.
She was always thin to start with, but now she is barely skin and bones.
And I have to ask myself this question: What is the purpose of this pain and suffering? Is there even any purpose to it?
I don’t think we’ll ever find the answer. But I know this: Mourning for a terminally I’ll person starts while they are still alive. You look at them, so old and frail and you remember how they used to be – healthy and happy! And in your heart, you cry for the pain and suffering they have to endure, and you wish that you can take this all away from them.
The worst is the emotional roller-coaster ride. The one day she seems so weak and frail and can’t even support her own weight when walking. And then overnight she seem so much stronger, kindling that little spark of hope…
And one morning when you get to the hospital, the sister tells you that the doctor said we can take her home! Something you started to think will never happen. So, you rush home to get her some clothes, sign the release-forms and watch as the nurse wheels your once proud and healthy mother out of hospital in a wheel-chair. But you’re glad, because after little more than a month she can go home!
Home being the step-down clinic at the old-age home, and eventually to her little flat in the frail-care center. And once again she surprises us with her sheer determination – eating a little better every day, walking a little bit more – and so achieving her goal of being in her little flat in time for Christmas!
How happy we were to spend Christmas with her in her new home! A one-day reprieve of the up and downs that is an undeniable part of her illness.
You sit there, drinking in her features, committing it all to memory – and hoping and praying that this will not be the only way you will remember her, but that many years of happy memories will eventually triumph!
Are you walking this path right now? Please share with us in the comments so that we can encourage each other.
Thanks for reading!