It has been a complicated year. So where do I begin? How about with some background.
Family and Friends
We moved my husband Lyn’s family here a while back. His father had become demented. He had made some poor financial decisions that resulted in losing the family home of 40 years, among other things. Not long we moved them (a story of its own), the situation worsened and he died, leaving us to care for my mother in law, who is also declining mentally and physically.
At the time, I was still working, running a small marketing agency from our home. I had grown increasingly frustrated with the business and had for several years expressed my desire to retire. With the new demands on my time, Lyn and I agreed that I could wind down my business so that I could be more available to care for his mother.
About the same time all that was happening, I had reconnected with my best friend from high school. We hadn’t spoken in 35 years until that point. Our friendship was quickly rekindled and she began coming out to Boise with the intention that she might like to live here. Her life was complicated by her needing to care for her mother. Ultimately this led to Pati moving her mother from New Jersey to Boise at the age of 91.
Needless to say, Pati and I were going through similar life experiences, despite the fact that her mom was more than a decade older than Lyn’s. We were fortunate to have each other to commiserate with on the hardships of family caregiving. We drank a lot of wine and shared the good times and bad as we muddled through the process.
Last week, Pati’s Mom died.
Why Am I Writing This?
Pati’s Mom’s death was not unexpected, yet it had a dramatic impact on me. It reminded me that life is complicated and short, no matter how many years you live. At the end there is no time for petty grievances. None of the harsh words we’ve said over a lifetime can be retracted. All of the complaints we’ve had lose all meaning. There is only time to hold hands, to sit still and in silence, until that last breath.
No matter what we think, do or say, every one of us is marching down life’s path to the same moment.
Time Falls Back
Not long ago we turned the clocks back in anticipation of the shorter days of winter. We begin our retreat, slow our pace and prepare for the dimly lit, cold and often dreary days to pass. A fit metaphor, I think, of this stage of life when we say good-bye to loved ones, comfort friends and plan for our own winter season.
I, for one, plan to be more present. To sit still, in silence, and hold the hands of those I love now, accepting what is without regret and passing no judgement.