Hospice Makes A Difference
Grief is a powerful thing. If there is anything more powerful than grief, it is my ability to not deal with it. And that is not a good thing.
When the time came to have my father placed in a facility, where he was expected to pass, it was important that we would be able to reunite him with his wife, which between them living together and being married, spent over 40 years together.
Out of respect for my stepmother and my brother, I am not posting her photo on this post, but this is the last picture I took of my father and stepmother before his passing.
I was going through a lot emotionally during this time period. I had to make sure that my father was being tended to and his comfort was being taken care of. I had to make sure that my stepmother was also being cared for. I was (and still am) in the middle of a divorce, and unfortunately spending a lot of time away from my children tending to my father. And of course, there were the issues of my divorce itself.
The hospice that cared for my father, reached out to many family members for support, as well as providing medication that would help keep my father comfortable in the end. And with hospice taking care of that, it allowed me to keep in check the many things that I was having to deal with at that moment.
I spent so many nights and days with my father, by his side. And as difficult as it was, and for others to understand, I made sure that my father’s wishes were met. With the emotions removed, something I have always been known to do, I am able to deal with things that I need to, with focus. And as cold as that is, that is who I am.
There were frustrations with decisions that were made, or not made, with hospice involved. There were opinions that other last minute options were available and needed to be considered. And I understood where everyone was coming from. But unfortunately, they were coming from raw emotions. We were losing someone we all cared very much about, and they wanted every last possible miracle attempted. But the reality of it was this, any attempt was only going to prolong suffering on the part of my father. Frustrations from the failure and lack of cooperation for last minute treatments were only going to take away valuable “closure” time with my father. This was a time that everyone needed to come to terms with, and take advantage of because some day soon, that time was going to be gone.
And therein lies the difference with allowing emotions to interfere with decisions. My father trusted me enough, to know if everything possible was being done, to ask the questions, to fight for the answers.
While everyone expressed their emotions, and eventually revealed their grief, I was not doing so.
It is a difficult position to be in, as the medical proxy for someone, especially a loved one. My emotions were buried as deep as ever. I loved my father, do not mistake that. We lost half of our life with each other because of divorce, but the second half of my life, was spent learning about him, growing close to him, and confiding in him.
There was not time to grieve for him. I could not afford to do that because there was too much to take care of with his care. And the ugliness of my divorce was also playing a major role as there were those who felt the right to judge my activity with my father, neglecting my family by caring for my father. In fact, even as he passed, because of my divorce issues, I could not be by his side at that final moment. Many say this is not forgivable. But what they do not know, understand, nor want to, is the fact that due to my divorce proceedings, I had not choice. And so again, even as I was told the news that my father passed, I had to focus on my current task, related to my divorce proceedings. There was no time for grieving. My father’s passing even came up during testimony in one of the hearings, which it had no business, but because an accusation of my absence was made, I had to bring my father’s death into the divorce. This was not right.
So, for the second year in a row, as this time comes up, I find myself, still not grieving for my father, because all I remember are the bad memories of the other shit that I was forced to deal with at the same time as my father’s passing. I will remember my father’s passing in a few days on that anniversary. And I will definitely remember the better times that we shared. But it still will not be grief.
I still do hear from hospice who calls on me every six months to ask how I am doing. And I appreciate that, but I am still not ready to grieve. I have too much other things that must be dealt with.
I can relate to that, having to bury emotions to think clearly while acting on behalf of a sick loved one. I was unable to take the time necessary to feel and begin the grieving process following my sister’s death in February, as I needed to return to working in hospice care- the livelihood currently providing for myself and four children. Grief has a way of rearing its ugly head despite attempts to keep it buried. Noticing that I have become irritable and less efficient in the normal duties required in both my personal and professional life, I read a book entitled “honoring grief, creating a space to let yourself heal.” I also recently joined Gilda’s club as a family member of a cancer patient who passed away. I am starting to process the many changes that are happening in my being due to the death of a very close loved one, with a group of others who can relate. Very thankful for those willing to join in this journey of incorporating grief into a life of passion, purpose and fulfillment.