I had a conversation with a young woman recently who was stressful and having trouble sleeping because all she could think of was what life was going to be like without her father, whom she loves dearly. He has cancer and is on Hospice now. She was filled with sadness and emotions that were overwhelming. She could not function normally in her work or daily life because she was grieving for a loss which had not yet occurred. It’s understandable, we all go there at least a little when we’re aware that we’re losing a loved one.
I asked her what her father’s condition was presently: he weighs about 150 pounds and is about 5’6″. He has a very good appetite and has lost only about 5 pounds in the last 6 months. Of course, there can at any time be something else going on in the body besides the diagnosed condition. A seemingly new condition of the heart, the kidneys, or any number of other weaknesses can change a persons prognosis in a flash. But, this woman and her father appear to have some time on their side to share for a while. I speak from a layman’s observations here, nothing more. I have lost five loved ones since 2005; my mother and sister-in-law to cancer, my friend to Alzheimer’s, my father to Parkinson’s and my husband to congestive heart failure. All followed a similar pattern of weakening health; diminishing appetite and extreme weight loss.
It appears to me, in this young woman’s situation, rather than focusing on losing her father, she could chose to think of things to do with him and for him now, so that their last days together are the best they can be. So that she never has to look back and regret that she was so overwhelmed, she missed the opportunity to share some lovely peaceful days with someone so important in her life.
We talked about how he lives in Florida and she in California. She came up with ideas that she felt were reasonable and doable, like setting aside phone time that they could each count on regularly. About being purposeful in conversation, keeping in mind always to come from a place of love and peace. To talk about things that had always interested her father or brought him joy. She could ask his wife if there was something she was aware of that would be helpful, this would bring the two them closer together. At first she thought about him coming out to spend time with her, as they had always planned, and never gotten around to. Then she realized that idea may be more what she wanted and too hard on him. She would ask, but not push if he or his wife thought that would be difficult.
Her thinking was already going in a good direction and diverted from sadness. I think she’s going to be just fine.
What can you do right now, to ensure that your thoughts of a loved one, ill or not, are beautiful memories that are always loving and peaceful when brought to mind? Taking time for yourself and reflecting on what’s important in life can change your world and bring so much joy.
Until soon, I wish you love and creativity.
Thank you for reading.
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