What do you do if you want to write a tribute legacy letter to your parent, but he or she is not the perfect parent?
Over 30 years ago, I had the honor to work with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. At the time, concepts like palliative care and hospice care weren’t well known. In fact, through her book, “On Death and Dying,” it was Elisabeth who started to bring the conversation about death and dying into the open.
My mother just received the results of her PET scan. Did the radiation treatment she got in September work or not?
When our first grandchild was born, I was enveloped with the sense of continuity, similar to the feeling that I had when my first child was born. I could almost viscerally feel the past flowing through me to the future, to him. It was a new sensation and it was rather wonderful.
On the surface, saying that dying matters, seems so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning. After all, what could be more important than our mortality? We are here on this amazing planet for such a short period of time. Death is the ultimate destination that, in many ways, gives our lives meaning.
It is a somber moment when someone mentions that a friend or family member has gone into hospice care. After all, hospices have a bit of a dark and dreary reputation.
Most of us don’t think about palliative care until someone that we love needs it. In some ways, this is natural. No-one likes to think about their own mortality and it is even harder to imagine someone close to us suffering. That said, there are many reasons to talk about death, even if we are not yet directly impacted by it.
Living with anyone, whether it’s a spouse, parent, or friend is typically packed with challenges as we strive to coexist in harmony. But when that roommate is experiencing cognitive challenges from Alzheimer’s or another dementia, finding harmony can be even more challenging.
I have an appointment every Monday afternoon and Tuesday, all day. It’s with a VIP and it’s a job of sorts. It doesn’t pay much, but it makes me feel rich beyond words. It’s also exhausting. I am one of the new corps of volunteer grandparents but I’m volunteering very close to home: in my own family.
Complaining about how things “were better in the good old days,” seems like a rite of passage for many grandparents. After all, through the lives of our grandchildren, we see firsthand just how much the world is changing around us.