This time was different
Another hospitalization…here we go again; but this time was different. The palliative care nurse at the hospital wanted to talk about hospice care. Such a scary word and normally it would've taken my breath away, but after the last 17 months in which my mom suffered two broken ankles 6 months apart, 7 surgeries, and spent 12 of the 17 months either in a hospital or rehab facility, it was more like the air left my body in defeat.
The time had come for hospice “comfort care”. That conversation with the palliative care nurse happened on March 4th and we brought her home two days later. She died 12 days later on March 18th.
She got her dying wish to be at home in her final days. I’m grateful I got to spend the majority of those days by her side.
And now, the aftermath... I'd like to share with you what I'm doing to support my health, mind, body and soul, as I navigate through my grief. It may also help you as you go through this unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let me tell you what I mean...
Most everyone around me is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, but obviously, my mind and heart are elsewhere. I keep thinking after all these years with her failing health, I’d be more prepared for her passing, but I now know, you can never prepare for the passing of a parent.
I’m writing to you today to share with you her passing and to let you know how I’m getting through it so far; specifically, what self-care practices are supporting me best. Thank you for allowing me this cathartic moment. I hope you also find it helpful in some way.
With COVID-19, there has been no service to celebrate my mom’s life; we can’t gather. Instead, the days just continue to roll on in our stay-at-home new way of life.
In the 10 days since her passing, life feels strange and paradoxically calm…which I find very odd. I feel alone and yet incredibly supported by my fr’amily (friends/family).
I’m comforted by the knowing that everything has happened in divine order and all will be ok. I’m blessed to have within me everything I need to get through this difficult and temporary season in my life – the task at hand is drawing from that deep well of resources and not falling prey to self-pity and stagnation. My soul knows all of this to be true even when my mind wants to talk me out of it.
I choose to trust my soul
I don’t say that lightly or in any boastful way. I desperately need to believe and trust my soul right now.
Why? These are uncharted waters for me. I’m 48 years old and have never directly experienced losing someone close to me (except if you count when my grandmothers died when I was 5 and 7 years old respectfully, but at those ages, it doesn’t impact a person in the same way).
When fr’amily have lost a loved one, I’ve offered empathy and condolences and did my best to be there for them through their hurt and grieving. And now it’s my turn to let others try to be there for me.
So far, this is what life looks like for me:
- I’m not sleeping well
- I crave comfort foods sometimes and I allow myself to have them
- I take walks daily to get fresh air and let my soul breathe…other times I sit on the couch and zone out
- I take baths and listen to soul-filling music; my mother loved baths
- I cry…a lot
- I read a lot – helps direct my mind to more helpful things and stops the ruminating
- I pray and talk to God throughout my day, especially when I first wake up, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to live another day
- I limit watching/listening/reading the news to less than 30 min a day
- I let others help me…my husband, besties and Dad/stepmom Sue have been incredibly helpful
- I watch tv shows and movies I like; strange as it seems, my fav’s like The First 48, Snapped and Forensic Files are watched on the regular
- I respond to friends/family checking on me via text or phone calls or social media…sometimes and mostly through text; this extrovert craves solitude right now but intellectually knows isolating a lot isn’t helpful, so I make myself call and video chat with friends/family that love me and worry about me
- I’m taking a break from work…for now. I’ll be back into the swing of things in full strength very soon – It’s soul-nourishing to be of service and help others and my coaching practice is a blessing in that regard.
- I’m dealing with the administrative/legal stuff associated with my mom’s passing and the heaviness it brings into my day…I trudge along
- The most important thing I do everyday before I get out of bed is to thank God for this new day and I set my intention to navigate it with an attitude of gratitude. It’s not easy, but it’s better than swallowing the negative, near debilitating ugly soup that sits before me. I say no thank you, I choose a better way.
The better way, for me, is choosing to have an attitude of gratitude. This not only honors myself but honors my mom’s memory. I giggle at that as I write it because my mom didn’t much believe in my approach to life. She thought it was mostly a bunch of “psycho-babble and positive woo-woo crap” as she would say. I know her perspective on life was colored by her own struggles which led her to not having the capacity or willingness to see things differently.
Now that she’s transitioned, I’m confident she’s proud of me and is cheerleading me and my way of living life; and so I honor her spirit by continuing to move forward with gratitude.
Please don’t mistake me, some days so far (it’s only been 10 days) I’ve done really well staying in a gratitude mindset and other days I’ve fallen apart.
Each day I choose to begin again
I attribute being able to be intentional in this way to the years of mindfulness and self-care habits I’ve practiced. Such as,
- daily meditation
- present moment awareness practices
- daily foundation health habits like sleep, hydration, movement, nourishing food and protecting my sacred space (my mind), and
- most of all, my deep spiritual beliefs that give me an unshakable knowing I have the power to consciously choose how to respond to what life throws at me. I possess everything I need within.
Life isn’t happening to me, it’s happening for me. It’s my choice how I harness and use it.
I’m especially grateful for this knowing during this difficult time in my life – it’s making all the difference!
Thank you for reading today’s blog post. It’s been cathartic for me to write it and it’s my hope that possibly something I’ve written has touched you and helped you in some way as you navigate your day during these unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic times we’re all living through.
And thank you to everyone who has reached out to me to offer their condolences. I appreciate each one of you.
In good health,
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