Warning – this post contains raw emotion and raw humor around the topic of losing a loved one. If you are sensitive to this topic, or if you don’t like the idea of using bad-taste humor to cope with tragedy, it’s okay if you don’t read on. Check back with me next week, when I’ll likely be back to regular programming.
I am typing this sitting at my mother’s bedside. As I was pulling into the parking lot of a restaurant last night to meet some friends for dinner, my cell phone rang. It was my dad. His only words were “I need you to come home right now.” He didn’t have to say anything else.
My mom has been battling a terrible disease for years. I wont go into the details about its symptoms other than to say it takes away a piece of you every day, slowly, over the course of 5-7 years until there is nothing left, physically or mentally.
I’ve come to know that there is a distinct difference between:
- learning about a death,
- dealing with a sudden death, and
- watching death happen.
I’ve been watching the process of my mom dying in slow motion for 5 years. It has taught me so much about life, compassion, commitment, true love, faith, and purpose. I think that losing a loved one changes you…not just from the loss, but also from the process of the loss.
So, here I sit with my family, in these final, precious moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. And what are we doing? Coping. And how are we doing that? Some are calm and spiritual, while others are hysterical. Some are crying, while others are remembering the good times and smiling. In all honesty, I think everyone here is going through all of those emotions, in their own ways. Every once in a while the immense stress is broken by laughter, like this morning when…
We were all sitting quietly. My dad was reading the Sunday paper, Lifestyle section, when he said…
Dad: That’s a bad picture of Mrs. Gilbert.
Sister: Who’s Mrs. Gilbert?
Dad: I have no idea.
Sister: Then how do you know it’s a bad picture?
Dad passes the paper to me.
Sister: Come on guys, there is nothing in that paper that could possibly be that funny.
I pass the paper to my sister.
IN CASE YOU ARE SKIMMING – THESE ARE NOT MY PARENTS. MEET THE GILBERTS.
What? It’s not close enough? Okay, okay, let me zoom it in a little more…
Is it just me, or are her dentures falling out?
Help us break the stress of these days. I know you might feel compelled to write I’m sorry about your mom, or hang in there, or sending out my prayers in the comments section. If you are thinking those things, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Prayers are always appreciated here, if you’re the praying type. In addition, there is something else you can do…
What we could really use at this moment, as strange as it may seem until you have actually met my family, is a little more laughter to break the stress. Make us laugh.
How would you caption the above photos?