Love is Always the Answer
I know the questions are difficult to ask. I know at the time, I wished that I had someone I could have asked, it’s a question you need an answer to. But how do you ask a person to answer your deepest fear? How do you ask someone what to do when your mom or dad gets really sick? What do you do when they die? How do you live the rest of your life without them? The thought of it is terrifying, but I can tell you that love is always the answer.
My mother was my best friend, biggest cheerleader and one of my favorite people in the world. When my mother got sick in 2003, all I wanted to know was, what do I do? And when she died, I wished for answers. My mother’s illness and death taught me so many things and after living through it, I have the answers I needed. But people are afraid to ask me for them.
There are many tasks that come with illness and death: notes, binders, hospice, funerals and estates. But the answer I am sharing is about emotions. How do you go on when your life is falling apart? The answer is love, the answer is always love.
What do you do when they get sick?
Whether it is your mom, dad or best friend, the answer is love. Put aside the mixed emotions, forgive, let go of the small resentments and love them with your whole heart. When your loved one is sick, anger, frustration and resentment can happen too easily. We cannot necessarily control the emotion, but we can control which feelings we act through. When you choose how to interact, choose love.
Hold her hand, hug him, read stories together, reminisce. Recognizing that even though they are your parent, they are scared and in pain. Don’t let a minute, month or year of illness change the way you feel or act. Always think and act through love first.
What do you do when they die?
The answer is love. Talk about them. Talk about how much you loved them and how they loved you. Grieve about losing them, but don’t stop loving them, love is eternal. Hold it in your heart, bask in the glow of the love they had for you. Cry. Look at old pictures and smile when you see and expression of love. Don’t ever let the love go.
In the beginning, there is so much pain mixed in with the memories. Some days it will physically hurt. It is almost as if there is a hole in your chest, that no matter how deep you breath, there isn’t enough air to fill it. But the answer is still love. Do not let it go. Do not let the pain harden your heart. Keep the love you gave and the love you received in the forefront of your mind.
How to live without them?
Slowly the pain fades to numbness and the numbness is replaced by everyday life. Of course, every once in awhile, you will be blind-sided by the pain. Something wonderful will happen, and you will think, “Let me call …” And it is shocking how fast it all comes back. But in this moment, do not forget that the answer is love. It was love that brought them to your mind, take a moment and embrace it. Then, when you recover, try to share the love they gave you to someone else. Hold your child, kiss a loved one, hold a hand. Love heals. It heals the recipient, but it also heals the one giving love. Showing love will honor your loss and restore your heart. The answer is still love.
Illness is hard. Death is hard. Living without your loved one is hard. But you can make a choice everyday, you can choose to let the pain of loss harden your heart, close you off to others and steal your healing; or you can answer it with love. For me, the answer is love and I can smile everyday because of it.
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