Pain has many forms, many colours, and certainly many depths. I wrote this for myself, for catharsis, to purge my soul somewhat of the relentless fear and pain. The pain and fear of watching your parent teeter near the edge of death. With each year that I grow older, I’ve encountered new and deeper levels of pain, but none that compares with this.
There is no greater heartbreak (but there is) than helplessly watching your parent sob in pain. To know that you have no magical or supernatural powers to halt the changes unfolding before your eyes in their life. Facing the very real possibility of death and loss, of a parent, at any moment is difficult to describe. This is where your nightmare begins. You ache for an end to the the uncertainty, the fear, the pain; but only death is certain, and thinking of that possibility will drag you deeper into the vicious nightmare.
Life is messy, life is unpredictable and it can be incredibly painful, more so with a parent who is ill. You’ll have the good days, where the fear will ebb; and then the dark, terrifying moments, when the hours drag on forever. Those are the harrowing times, those are the times you will need to be brave, stare death (loss) in the face and be strong. You reach moments when every night you beg, you plead and you bargain, with whichever powers that be, for a little more time, for one more day. Some people have their parents live well into their old age, others are not as fortunate. Knowing that you may not be as fortunate is both devastating and humbling.
But in the time that they are there, they will need you. When your parent has sunk into the depths of despair, absorb their pain in all the ways that you can, hold their hand, hug them, do all the little things you can; it makes a difference. Show them love, support and understanding. Love them with everything that you have and hold nothing back, it can make the pain bearable.
The monumental loss of a parent is a something I cannot, and will not claim to understand, but I do know the fear of realizing it could happen at any moment. The only way to save your sanity is to accept that in your present moment, they’re still there, they’re still with you. Live in that moment, and know that whatever tomorrow brings, you’ll face it when tomorrow comes. Be brave, be real, be present.