Harmony Art Mom
Creating Calm out of Chaos
My last Harmony Art Mom post was one that shared how 2018 had been a twisting, turning road down uncharted paths and unpainted canvasses. Just a few months into 2019, our family has been thrust into more drama than we’ve experienced in a long time.
As often happens in life, things don’t turn out as anticipated. Our last weeks have been filled with moving my parents out to assisted living, emergency room visits, ICU stays, and now we’re in a period of hospice for my mom.
Not only was my mom in the ICU, but my dad took a turn and ended up on the other side of the hospital, being treated for multiple conditions he’s been ignoring. The stress of mom’s illness put him over the top. Our family has been moving between both hospital rooms making sure both of our parents are getting the care and the support they need that comes with serious illness.
Little did I know when I picked the word “compassion” as my word of the year for 2019, that I would be thrown into the fire of learning just what compassion means when it applies to the end of someone’s life. I’ve sat at my mom’s bedside as she has cried, been angry, and then reflective about happy memories of family and times from the past. For the most part, I just listen and rub her shoulders and offer liquids when she feels thirsty. She’s only eating popsicles and ice cream with regularity. I’ll never look at a popsicle from now on without remembering how much my mom loves the purple ones.
I feel very ill-equipped to keep her entirely comfortable and peaceful but my mind keeps recalling encouraging scriptures and songs. I see how the real healing of her spirit comes as each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to visit. She seems to want to tell each of them she loves them, that they are good people and then maybe a little advice for the future. I listened as she asked my grand-niece about what she wanted to be when she grew up. This little 5 year old said she wanted to be a doctor, a baker, and a mommy. My mom told her that being a mom is the hardest job of all. We all agreed.
How much longer I’ll be here helping and encouraging is up in the air. I just keep thinking and feeling that this is where I’m supposed to be, even though it pretty much means the rest of my life is on hold. I explained in my Sketch Tuesday post this week that keeping a good routine is what’s grounding me. I begin each day with some spiritual encouragement, a little exercise, and then a bit of work and journaling. It’s a chapter in my life.
At some point I will write here about how I’m changing in my determination to keep things simple and to keep on working to have good, deep relationships with my close family and friends. Thanks for listening and for all of your notes and emails of encouragement….they mean a lot at this time and help me remain calm even in the midst of the chaos of watching a parent dying.