My mother died yesterday. These are the things that I am grateful for today.
#1 – that I was overwhelmed with support from the dear friends in my life. Sitting beside me in the hospital, dropping off homemade soup, helping me clean out all of her personal belongings. Flowers, cards, phone calls, texts and emails – dozens and dozens of them. My heart is so very grateful. That most knew and loved my mom just made it the more bittersweet.
#2 – that I live in Canada where dramatic medical events are not financially life-altering events. The last thing anyone in a crisis wants to think about is how much that bandage/nurse/procedure is going to cost.
#3 – that my children step up – that they are not so far away that they can’t be here with me at a time when their very presence is such a balm to my spirit. While they each grieve their own loss of a beloved grandma, they are here for me. And each will participate in her funeral service to show their respect for someone who was such a great part of their lives.
#4 – I am incredibly grateful for the nurses who dealt with us over the last two weeks. From the emergency department, through medical tests, and finally to palliative care, their professional support, kindness and patience, even with their heavy workload, was consistently generous and thoughtful.
# 5 – I am, as always, so blessed with a husband who stands by my side to offer whatever I need. Who can laugh with me, and cry with me, or just walk the fields in silence to let me feel what I need to feel. He is grieving too – for the mother in law who defied all the stereotypes – but is rock solid is in his support for me.
#6 – How lovely to mix the past with the future around her deathbed – from the son of my mother’s best friend – who has been a true friend since the first grade, to my son’s fiancee who is a new person in my life and has become a brave and loving member of our family.
# 7 – Finally, I am above all grateful that for a few moments over the last weeks, the mother that I know and love was able to swim up through the horrific fog of her increasing dementia to fully be the person that she has always been. It was a gift to be able to actually speak with her again, if only to let us say goodbye.
She joins my father now, and their love story is complete. I am crying now not for the loss of her, but for the gift of her, throughout every day of my life.