Watching my Grandmother lose her battle to cancer made me feel helpless. We knew her passing was near, and while many of my family members sat with her, held her hand, talked to her, said their tearful good byes - I busied myself.
I created posters for her memorial, I organized photographs, I did anything I could at the hospice home to distract myself from what was happening. It was hard to reconcile what I was seeing - a woman who was once feisty, independent, full of humor and wouldn't stand for any BS - fighting hard at the end of her life, and losing. I flew thousands of miles to be with her, and I waited in the next room as she passed. I let my fear dictate the experience.
Reading Joan's book gave me a sense of peace and comfort about that day, something I had pushed out of my mind for a decade. It was cathartic to remember and work through those emotions, the fear and sadness of losing her. Of watching my mom lose her mother.
I don't know if I will ever ready to be with someone at their life's end, but when it happens again I will be less fearful. I will avoid less and experience more.
Joan comments: Every human being simply has to relate to your story, Lindsey. When someone we love is dying it is dreadful to come face-to-face with that terrible reality. Don’t dump on yourself for having such a human reaction. In the future (because you will almost certainly face this situation again, perhaps many times), I hope you will have the inner strength to quietly go into the room with your dying loved one, take a seat, perhaps hold their hand, and simply BE. The gift of your loving presence is invaluable. Thank you for your honesty and sharing.