Exactly two years ago today, at 8:27 am, I watched my mother take her final breath….
As painful as it was to know that this moment was the end of her journey in this realm, there was a great sense of relief. She was done suffering. Her pain was now gone and her conscious mind was free. I remember grabbing her wrist and checking for a pulse. Slowly it slipped away. Each beat getting weaker and weaker, until eventually her pulse was gone completely. There were four people present in my mother’s room when she passed (five if you include her confidant, Bailey, our hundred pound Great Pyrenees/Lab mutt who was by my mother’s side, day in and day out, for the entire six and a half year battle); my father, my brother, my aunt (mom’s sister) and myself. An intimate group of people who knew her best and respected her final wishes.
“What now?” I remember asking blankly as I anxiously searched for a pulse.
“Nothing…(a very long pause)…she’s gone.” I remember my Dad answering.
No shit!!!!! I thought to myself. I was angry! I was heartbroken. I was relieved. But above all, I was my mother’s caregiver, and for the first time in years, I had no idea about “what now?” I had been so organized and one step ahead the whole time she was sick. But this time I had failed miserably. I had NO idea what to do…
I have spent the past two years reflecting on the experiences I have had, and coming to terms with the outcome. I have been dealing with my grief and learning to accept that I did the best I could. Along with my family, I had fought by her side 110%, while she put in 150%.
In honor of my mother, along with all ailing individuals and their caregivers, I have decided to start this blog to share my personal experiences. I hope to help those who are traveling down the road of caregiving avoid any unnecessary potholes along the way and help with the “What now?” (There will always be obstacles, but having an extra helping hand and support can never hurt.) No matter where you are in the caregiving process, be it diagnosis/prognosis, in the heat of the battle or dealing with the grief of losing a loved one, this blog is intended to be a safe place to learn and share.
Let’s face it, there isn’t just one elephant in the room; there are a dozen! I am going to keep this honest and real. Discussing matters which may be a bit uncomfortable will help the process in the end, I promise. Any and all areas of the caregiving process will be covered. Be it different emotional battles, legality issues, medical concerns, deciphering insurance, tax questions or alternative health modalities, I will do my best to cover all the bases.