Sunday, October 2, 2011

Death Comes to Us All

I don't normally think a lot about death, but recently I had an aunt pass away and my mind has wondered into another dimension.  

I have found myself having a series of questions, but the one that has prodded me the most has been whether it is better for family members if the death of a loved one is expected or unexpected.  
When my mother passed away, it was totally unexpected.  It was a typical day like any other.  I remember it being sunny and warm.  And then I got that dreaded phone call.  I experienced all types of emotions.  I think the strongest one was that I didn't get to say "goodbye".  I didn't get to tell her 'how much I loved her' one more time.  It has been many years since she has passed and I still find myself wanting to share details with her on a daily basis.  I have always felt as though I have missed something.  I have been prevented from complete closure.  How do you allow yourself to move on in life if you feel you have unfinished business.  How do you accept that?
How do you let go of someone who meant so very much to you?

My aunt's situation was different.  The family had been told that her health was declining and that it was only a matter of time.  She had been in and out of the hospital many times and required a lot of care.
Is it easier to deal with the loss knowing it is coming?  Does this time make a difference in preparing yourself?  Does one take the time to say the sweet words they want their loved one to hear?  What if your loved one is not in a state to understand your words?

I have always thought that I would have wanted my mother to make it long enough for me to get to her so that I could spend just one more minute with her.  But after so many years, I realize that is so very selfish of me.  She went quickly and painlessly.  If she had lived, she would have been hooked to machines just to keep her alive.  She didn't deserve to live that way.
I know of so many families that struggle with managing a parent, or family member,  and their debilitating disease for months, sometimes years.  I have watched families fall apart because of the stress, but not one of them would have changed a thing.  All of them were happy to have that extra time with their loved one, even if in the end their loved one didn't recognize them or couldn't hear them.
I guess in writing this post, I have found my answer.  If it happened all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.  My mother left a world of pain and suffering to enter a world of peace and is pain-free.  I truly believe that.
And what about all that was left unsaid?  Well, I guess I will just have to wait until we meet again and I can tell her then.  
What about you?  I know it is a morbid topic and no one really wants to think about their loved ones passing on, but if you had your choice, what would you choose? ©