Death and Life

In the coming month our family’s emotions will run the gamut from deep loss to profound joy.

College senior

College senior

My mom is getting ever nearer to the end of her life. It’s been just over a month since I saw her, and there have apparently been profound changes since then. Her pain is increasing, as is her dementia. She still has an appetite, but is losing weight. We were informed last week by hospice that Mom is most likely entering her last few weeks of life, but no one can say for sure how much longer she will be with us. She is still her positive and upbeat self and gets up and dressed every day, but it’s getting harder each time. She frequently talks of her parents now, either that they’re coming soon, or that they’ve been taking care of things for her, bringing her things. This is not uncommon with the dying, to sense the presence of and talk to already dead relatives and friends.

My father’s death was sudden but not unexpected, and even though he and I were not close it was still a shock. My mother’s death is expected, but I already know it will affect me far more profoundly than my father’s did. My mom and I have had our differences, but she has lived a long time, had a good life, and lived it her way. She has been a genuine force of nature, a comet racing across the sky, and the world will be emptier without her in it.

Great joy will also be coming in October though as our new granddaughter is due to arrive this month! My son and daughter-in-law are ready, with the baby crib set up and other baby gear cleaned and ready to be put into use again. Our grandson is also excited and eager to meet “his baby.” Our son will be taking several weeks off from work to take care of things around the house, and get our grandson to school and home while our daughter-in-law recovers and adjusts to life with two children.

This time we don’t know the name they have chosen for the baby, and we’re looking forward to learning what they’ve decided on. We’ve tried to guess but have given up; we can’t figure out a name that works in both Japanese and English. I wish we could meet our granddaughter sooner than next year, but hopefully March will be here before we know it. Brett and I are looking forward to being those grandparents again when we go to Japan, with suitcases bursting full of baby things, and goodies for our grandson as well. We’re so excited about getting to spend loads of time with both our grandchildren.

Both death and great sadness, birth and great joy will enter our lives this month. It’s a bit overwhelming to contemplate at times, but that’s just how life happens sometimes.

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10 thoughts on “Death and Life

  1. Janette says:

    Praying that your mother passes gently and you new grand enters beautifully! My daughter married six weeks after my father passed and my grandson arrived nine months later. Sometimes I think it is all planned that way.

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you, and yes to both! I honestly never thought the two events would be occurring in the same month (although Mom might surprise us all though and make it through the month – that would be her style.

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you. Most of the time when I think of my mom now, it’s with a smile on my face. She hasn’t always been easy to deal with, but she has been a true force in my life for better or worse. I will miss her greatly.

      So excited about the new baby though! We’re really excited about her arrival.

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you – I’m definitely going through the mixed feelings right now. I feel sad about my mom’s condition, but understand that death is a part of life. She has enjoyed a long, fruitful life and gotten to do everything she wanted for the most part, and we can’t wish for more than that.

      I think too I am a bit overwhelmed by the realization that with Mom’s passing that I and my siblings will move into the “oldest” generation position in the family. It didn’t seem so long ago that we were at the bottom of the ranking, and yet here we are.

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      • JJ says:

        My parents died young and I became the oldest generation at the ripe old age of 37. Definitely wasn’t how I expected things to turn out, but life isn’t fair a lot of the time and we just learn to move forward. From what you’ve written, it seems your relationship with your mom wasn’t always rosy, but it seems she was quite a force in your life and shaped who you are today.

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      • Laura says:

        Mom was not there for me when I was young. I’m not sure why, but it affected me deeply and of course growing up I thought it was my fault, that there was something wrong with me. It took me years to shake that opinion of myself. Mom and I became closer, and got along better when I got older, although by then I had learned to keep my distance somewhat. She stepped up and helped Brett and I financially a couple of times when we needed it (we paid her back though, with interest). She has always been a powerful force in my life, good and bad, and I have a ton of respect for her and what she accomplished in her life, especially considering when she was born. I’ve always loved her though – she’s my mom – and have forgiven her, and I hope she’s forgiven me for any hurt I caused her.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks – this is the thought I keep at the forefront, that death is as much a part of life as birth. I think often of the Dr. Suess quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

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