The end – not alone

Journey’s end – team effort – for ender, family and family caregivers. This post is for the family caregivers, caring for the ender, the family and each other. A raw and primal passage for the whole team. The ender in the eye of the storm with spiraling waves buffeting family and  caregivers, seeding their own spirals. Mom died well. As a holocaust survivor she was determined to control her demise like she couldn’t control her teen years in hiding . She was selfish and fearful, imperiously choreographing her demise.  She had childlike grace, aching love, and overflowing appreciation.  My mom found humor in the six P’s of dying: pillow, pills, piss, poop, pain and phone. Comfort, basic body functions, medication, and communication.   P for phone was her last joke. We can add a seventh: P is for peace. But wait, this post is about the caregivers. Those of us who tolerated her and marveled at her while caring for her and each other. She could not have staged this pageant without the caregivers who loved her because of and in spite of her strengths and foibles. They were present, put upon, testing their own limits, letting their love, skill, kindness, and generosity wash in as her life evaporated out. Especially, Loretta, a midwife for the end of life. Mom had many regrets in her life, some small and some whoppers. She did not regret the community she nurtured and watered all around her. That community came through. I felt appreciated and supported by her community as they folded me in. I was listened to, bolstered, and loved. Everyone brought their best self for her. Phew. No one was alone.  My mom was about not being alone. I thank that community with all my heart and soul for pulling that off for her.  Oh ma, you did good – we all did good.

8 Comments

  • christina brown says:

    Oh my dear Ruth! I will always remember the appreciation and love you carried, the joy and the tears we shared. Thank you Danny and Jessica for welcoming me into your family and giving me this amazing experience with the most amazing woman. My lovely I will miss you!

  • I walked this walk myself, with both my parents. LOVE the 6 Ps, ’cause that’s the dead center truth. Sympathy for your loss, but congratulations for the grace you found in walking that path. Hugs across the miles, my friend.

  • Nancy says:

    Dear Danny,
    Death can be much less scary and sad when it is approached with the love of people like you and Ruth. We all learn from you. Ruth was a remarkable woman. She leaves us with great memories. I remember that at Ruben’s wedding she told Pat and me that we were such great dancers! Dream on. Love, nancy

  • krpooler says:

    Thinking of you all Danny. If death can be beautiful, it sounds like your mom’s was. Much like my dad’s. May the grace and love your mom showed until the end bring you peace and consolation in the days ahead. Sending love and hugs to you all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Danny, so sorry for your loss. It does sound like your mom died well – if such a thing can be said – and on her own terms. I agree with Mary Sue, your writing about this has been amazing. My last memory of your mom is from Simon’s wedding, which was the last time I saw her. She was certainly a vibrant person and it’s reflected in you. Much love to all of you.

    Bruce

  • Pat Rioux says:

    Your story brings me back to my parents and their ‘good deaths’. Aren’t we so lucky to have these experiences? I wish everyone could have such love surround them, especially as they leave us. I wish you well and the next hug you get from me will be longer and stronger. I would say that along with your mom’s 6 P’s of dying…she was one herself, a P for pistol!

  • mary sue says:

    Danny…I have been thinking of you alot. I’m so glad your mom died on her own terms. And your writings about this journey have been amazing…and will help others as they go through this process…make sure they are available somewhere!!

    Love to all of you…

    mss

    • Danny,
      I can relate to your journey as well as your Mom’s. I’m a 1st Gen American too. I walked the same walk with my Mom. It gets easier with time, my friend. Your Mom sounds amazing. I’m glad she is at peace, and it was on her own terms. Sending you comfort and strength- and hugs

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