When my mother passed away I had not had the opportunity to be close to death very often. My maternal grandmother lived to be 101, and I was with her the week of her passing. My mother was 85 and her passing was a long journey. She had some serious health challenges along the way, and yet she had a strong life force. She only lived a year and a half after my step-father’s passing. This is not uncommon with partners who have spent a long time together, love each other, or are very dependent upon one another. My mother died of loneliness.
The interesting part of the journey for me was how much medical intervention was or was not utilized. It can be very difficult to decide how much and what kind of medical intervention to use. The biggest debate among my siblings, was how much medicine was useful vs harmful. There was a lot of trial and error, but we finally decided to use the least amount possible. We chose to work with hospice, which was a wonderful experience. Not only did this relieve the family, but it also helped the caregivers. There was a wonderful team of people coming to the house to care for my mom.
At one point, I realized how similar death is to birth. You see people acting in ways you are not used to. You employ pain management and comfort measures. You have to decide how much to interfere with the natural process. There is a lot of waiting and watching. Much of the time, you are just there offering love and support. You decide whether to go to the hospital or stay at home.
Mom had dementia that was rapidly advancing during the last year of her life. She gave life to me, breastfed me when that was not a very popular idea, and loved and guided me for 58 years. It was very sad to see her go through all she did as she was in her decline. I’m glad I was there to help in any way I could as she had given so much to me. I am relieved that she has left the pain and suffering behind. She was a great role model for me. She taught me to think for myself and to care for others and society. She was adventurous and loved life. I’m grateful for all she taught me. I’m celebrating her life.
331,165 babies are born in a day world wide according to one source.