As most of you know my husband died September 18. It was my turn to walk on the other side of hospice. He was diagnosed in May with cancer of the lung. At 89, we decided treatment would hinder his quality of living. At 89, any disruption of our “normal” can turn into a downward spiral. We wanted him to live his best life while he could.
It is interesting to me that with all my knowledge, I fell into the trap most people find themselves in: not wanting to see what is really happening. Intellectually I knew the signs and patterns of approaching death, but emotionally I kept pushing food and seeking engagement. AND experiencing the frustration those actions were building.
It took a day of anger to recognize I was concentrating on keeping him alive while he was preparing to die. It took anger to begin accepting what was happening. Actually, “accepting” is not the right word, because it will never be okay. Let’s use the word “understanding.” It took anger to understand what the future was bringing.
I knew all the signs of approaching death, of labor beginning. What I didn’t know was how much we don’t want to see those signs, and by not wanting to see them, we often don’t.
I knew he was dying, and dying soon. But I didn’t want to acknowledge just how soon. It was our hospice nurse that knew it would be days while I saw weeks. She saw hours when I saw days. Despite all of my knowledge, I was looking through the lens of denial. My husband couldn’t be dying now. She gently guided and supported us with her knowledge, people skills, medical skills, and kindness.
My wish in sharing this personal experience is that you, the reader, can benefit. That you, the reader, can find yourself in my story and see just how normal the difficult life of a caregiver is. I hope you see that our emotions have a great deal of power over us and can influence what we see, hear and do. Knowledge helps, but it is our emotions, under the surface, that guide us and tend to block us from seeing what we don’t want to see.
I want to thank all of you, whom I only know through this blog, who sent me encouragement and yes, love. I carry your kindness with me as I continue to walk this new path.
Something More... about When Our Emotions Blind Us From What is Happening
I have a request...
If you know someone with a loved one facing end of life, will you share this blog article with them?
If they don't know how to go about chosing a hospice agency, will you share this blog article with them? MOM NEEDS HOSPICE? Here are your questions to choose the right one...
And if they have hospice services but don't have "the hospice blue book" to help them understand signs of approaching death and what they can do for their special person, will you share the discounted bundle with them? End of Life Guideline Series by Barbara Karnes