EndOfLife_Hands_RosieOBeirne_Flickr_02142012Dying sucks. No two ways about it. It sucks for the person who has to go through it. It sucks for the family around them that is taking care of them while they’re dying. It sucks for the family that’s too far away to see their loved ones (maybe better that they don’t), and for their friends who are losing someone they really love.

Dying puts you in touch with your own mortality.

As a primary caregiver of my dying mother-in-law, it sucks. It is also an incredibly beautiful time. On my good days, it feels like an incredible honor to be able to help a beautiful soul make her last days the most comfortable possible. On my bad days, I feel trapped and incredibly overwhelmed. It’s on those days, I think, that I learn the most about myself. I learned that when I focus on ME, that energy that keeps me in the space of feeling like a victim. A victim of my circumstances of being the caregiver. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way, so it’s my signal to myself to change my thought. My new thought then produces new feelings. So, when I am able to shift my focus from how this is affecting ME to what I can do for her, it shifts my energy to a more loving place instead of feeling like a victim. I’m finding that I’m having to coach myself just to get through those moments. Getting to this place of understanding wasn’t easy or quick.

But, dying itself, for the one that’s dying, has me most intrigued. To come close to dying, knowing that your days are truly numbered, makes me incredibly humble and touches me deeply. I find myself full of compassion about what she must be thinking and how she might be feeling. I guess everyone handles it differently and in their own way. I wonder how I will deal with my final days? Who will be with me at the end? Will I go slowly or quickly? We just don’t know. It is the ONE thing we have NO control over. Or, do we?

The other BIG lesson for me is patience. Dying is not a nice, neat package. Not that I expected it to be, but having some sort of “order” has been important to me in my game of life. It’s my comfort place. Having some sort of “order” helps me operate efficiently and I’m better equipped to function more effectively. Well….dying takes that completely out of the equation. It really does force me to just BE. Like NOW. NOW is the most important moment and nothing else is a priority. Me having patience for the NOW is quite the feat actually. I should get a medal or something (maybe a cup of tea) just for that alone.

It is a rich time. It is an interesting time. It is a time of many lessons. It is a time to learn about myself. It’s a time to learn what I’m made of. It’s a time that reminds me of what is important. It reminds me to live BIG now. Life is short. Hug those you love and tell them often. Be grateful for the life and love you have NOW.

Live is Iki. Live Big!

Allison Field

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