My sister-in-law lost her mother to cancer this week. She had been diagnosed shortly after Chris died. She fought the good fight for a year and a half. I talked to Katrina when it was time to think about bringing in hospice. She was struggling with the idea of it because her mom wasn't ready. She could still get up and do things and Katrina didn't want her mom to think she wanted her to die. But I also knew that Katrina was worried that she couldn't care for her mother the way she needed to. I knew this because I'd been there. I knew that the moments leading up to her death would be the hardest scariest time for Katrina. I knew that it would be like walking a tight rope over the Grand Canyon, a constant fight to keep balancing to keep from falling. I knew that her body would go to work and run through it's daily tasks, but her mind would be with her mom, worrying that she had fallen or was eating or, most importantly, not in pain. When we were told that our only choice was hospice, Chris didn't want it. The lead hospice nurse came to our house and I sat on the couch talking to her. Chris laid on the bed in the other room. He wanted no part of it. But I listened to what that woman had to say, things about not helping you to die, but helping you to live comfortably. And when I went in to the bedroom to talk to Chris about it, he told me "I'm not ready." Then I told him that I needed hospice. I needed it to be sure there would be someone that could take care of Chris better than I could. So he agreed. He agreed, not because it was good for him, but because it would be easier for me. He saw that it eased my mind knowing that someone could be there. These are the things that I told Katrina. These were my words of advice. It sucks that I have this knowledge, this experience at my age, but I am thankful that I could pass the things I know on to someone in a helpful way. I am thankful that the experience prepared me in some way to help someone else.
August is not an easy month for Katrina or the rest of my family. It is centered around loss and heartache. This just adds to Katrina's pile of loss, but Katrina and I are a lot alike. We're good at seeing the balance of loss and life. We both can see that even though we've had great loss, we have also gained great loves. I'm thankful for this and I'm thankful for the people that she has surrounding her with love and support. I'm thankful for those she has to lean on when it's just too much, because I get the idea of too much. And I'm thankful.
I am thankful for the many blessings I have in my life.