Caring for an elderly parent is challenging. Caring for an elderly parent who is chronically ill and ready to move on is extremely challenging. I feel very grateful to be with my mother for some of the last days of her earthly life. She is not afraid to leave–she welcomes it. She wants to be in heaven with my father and her sister and the many friends that have passed before her. Her bravery is incredible. For me, it’s an emotional upheaval but uplifting and gratifying at the same time–to know she is prepared and ready to go on to what she refers to as her “journey”.
I thanked her for being my mom–thanked her for being the reason that I am here. I think she thought I meant for taking care of me when I was a child; and of course I am thankful for that but I was speaking of something else. I thanked her for nurturing me as I grew inside her. For carrying me for nine months. For making sure she took care of herself so that I was taken care of too. For being the reason that I am here now.
I do not think she understood what I meant at first, but then a hint of a smile appeared and she said, “Oh yes…I guess you are right” and then she simply said “You’re welcome”.
The next day, she wanted to tell me something. She couldn’t put all the words together at first; it was just too tiring. But with the patience that she showed me when I was struggling with learning to speak, we waited; and eventually she said, “Thank you”. “For what?” I asked. “For being the reason that I am still here now. For taking care of me. For feeding me. For making sure I am comfortable. I have things that I have to take care of before I go and you are making sure I can do that.”
I simply said “You’re welcome”.