After caring for my dad in our home for the past month, he died peacefully yesterday morning. He had been steadily slowing down; sleeping nearly all day and night. He didn’t feel up to eating much, and only drank a bit of water during the day.
My mom died on December 16, 2015, and Dad has been missing her ever since. I know that they are now together in love for all eternity, and while I will miss them both with every beat of my heart, I know that they are happy again.
To any of you who have been or are in the process of caring for a loved one, please remember these things:
- You are stronger than you know.
- Your love for the person for whom you are caring is evident to that person with every smile you give them, each time you do something for them, every meal you prepare for them, and every word you speak to them.
- If there is something you feel you can’t do, get help. It won’t make you less a caregiver.
- Even if all you can do for them is to provide a bed and your love, it means the world to them.
- Each time you hold their hand, speak their name, perform the least little service for them, it matters.
- Each time you feel as if you can’t do anything right, please know that what you are doing is helping them more than you know.
- Each time you have to leave the room to cry, it’s all right. It only means that your heart needs to empty some of its sorrow, which makes more room for your love.
- Every time you berate yourself for something you feel you did wrong, give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can.
- Speak your love over and over and over again.
Dad was in Hospice care during his last days, and they were wonderful to him. As I waited for the Hospice nurse to come and pronounce his death, I opened one of the bedroom windows. Many believe that this allows the angels to come take the soul to Heaven; I felt as though Dad’s soul rose up in joy and happiness to meet Mom.
To all who care for their loved ones, you are showing the very best of yourself with everything you do for someone you love. Never forget that you are doing angels’ work, and never stop saying “I love you.”