Monday, August 3, 2015

Being a witness to the process of dying

We're just home from another trip up to Vancouver. Daniel had just gotten home from Vancouver on Tuesday night, so we had planned to take this weekend off before heading up again later. But on Thursday, the home care nurse came to talk to his parents about future planning. Nothing for right now, but to start thinking about when his dad will need to go into hospice care and being realistic about my mother-in-law's inability to care for him alone, as she is also very frail.

This conversation seemed to make the reality of the situation click for my brother-in-law and he and Daniel realized they still had tasks to take care of. And my mother-in-law was, understandably pretty sad after the nurse visit. So back into the car we went on Saturday morning. Because if there's one thing that my kids are excellent at, it's making lots of noise and being completely silly and serving as a fantastic distraction from the realities of life. The current state of my home is evidence of that.

This is a new thing for us and a new state for our marriage. We've been together a little over 11 years and in that time we've lost Daniel's grandmother (to old age in her 90s), his uncle (hit by a car), his aunt (cancer, went quickly), and my great-aunt (float plane accident). With the exception of his aunt, no one was sick, they were just here and then not.  We've never been through this situation of watching someone we care about gradually get smaller and sicker and knowing that the end is coming soon.

I'm, admittedly, not close to my father-in-law. We've probably only had a handful of conversations. The language barrier is big and therefore we don't know what to talk to each other about. He's not a particularly talkative person in general and mostly keeps to himself. So I'm not dealing with this cancer diagnosis as one who is emotionally involved with him, but as one who knows how much those left behind are going to hurt. My kids love their grandfather and he loves them. And Daniel's really reeling from this all as well. The people I love are going to have their hearts broken. My mother-in-law is going to lose the husband that she's had for over 50 years, who has been with her through some serious hard times and many joyful ones as well.

This is hard. Even with knowing that we will all be together again someday in Heaven and we will be free of this life's pains and sickness. It's just hard.

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