May 12, 2021 at 9:04 am #6368Rana GoodmanKeymasterThe following was sent by subscriber, Valerie Lapin, she like many of us are dealing with a loved one who is gravely ill. We found it so real and touching that we asked permission to share it with all of you. Thank you Valerie.The grieving begins with the knowledge that someone we love is stricken with a progressive illness for which there is no cure and not when a loved one utters his/her last breath. It is not when they cease to exist. It is a process when we live with the news about their terminal illness. When their eyes close and they utter their last breath the essence of who they are has long gone, and what remains is a shell of who they were.
I see that in my son who is in the last stages of Parkinson’s Disease, whose life was stolen from him 11 years ago when he was only 46. That was when WHO he was is began to fade, and who he was began to disappear. What and who he was began to fade away.
His essence is long gone along with his dignity having to depend on others for his needs to be taken care of. He still smiles and is helpful to others because that is who he always was. His intelligence, his laughter has long gone. He is now only the outer shell of who he once was. Arthur is long gone.
The knowledge of those he loved and who loved him began grieving upon hearing his diagnosis. It is called anticipatory grief knowing that some day in the future he will be no more, and we must accept this finality that is to come. I railed at G-d and no longer believe. The end will still cause pain, and we have lived with this knowledge from the beginning. It will also be a relief that our loved one will no longer feel pain and will be at peace.
This void of their passing will never be filled. In its place will remain the beautiful memories we shared together and the love we shared. That day we knew would come at some point, and when it does we realize we have already experienced the worst. Hopefully at that time we can experience peace for what we knew would take place some day.May 12, 2021 at 4:03 pm #6375Patsy McCarthyParticipant
Valerie, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us through Rana.
I am so sorry for your son’s illness and his long fight. I, too, had an uncle with Parkinson’s. It is a cruel disease.
I had to start reading your essay several times as I was so emotionally reminded of my three journeys over the past three years. I had to watch both my mother and sister in their final illnesses. My sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2017, she passed away in June 2018 after a valiant struggle to survive and our Mother passed away in January of last year at the age of 105 1/2. In addition, our mother’s brother passed way two weeks before my sister.
It is the hardest thing in the world to watch the people you love most struggle through their final days. I rely on my faith and the wonderful lifetime of memories to help me through what is still a very difficult time. There will come a time when your family and friends will be the most comfort to you
Your last two paragraphs say everything and I could not agree more.
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