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Grief is, because love is #7
A couple is in a post test review with a doctor. “There is nothing more that we can do. I am sorry………..” The couple look at each other, in stunned silence; there are no words.
Human beings will always look to the next step, even if the implications of those next steps are not pleasant ones. The fact life now seems to have an end point may not even be realised; it is just a different kind of care, and the life that goes with that care, is required.
So end of life care is arranged; maybe palliative care, either in a hospice or at home, and bit by bit, they start to realise life has been forever changed; future plans and hopes now gone. The realisation dawns that in fact the days are now short. At this point, grief has commenced.
For the one that is dying, guilt they are going, or concern that all will be OK after they have gone. For the one left behind, the growing realisation that every day, every hour, every minute,every breath, becomes precious, as the day of death becomes closer.
Anticipatory grief is experienced before death, as the dying person and those close to them begin to respond to these changing circumstances. It is a form of emotional and mental preparation, but in extreme circumstances could result in other people withdrawing their support and physical presence and treating the person as it they had already died. These are the times when memories and last words and goodbyes will be shared. To be able to say goodbye, when some do not get the opportunity, is a gift indeed. Always take the opportunity.
Quite often those who have been caring may say “We have been grieving for a while. It is kind of a relief that the person has died.” It is quite OK, for someone to say this, when you hear it. The caring journey, watching a loved one waste away, is heart-wrenching. Just show you are listening, and perhaps ask for memories. But the grief will continue.
This commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.