Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Living While Dying

When my father died, he'd had a massive heart attack and we knew it was within a matter of days that he would be gone. With my mother-in-law, it's not that simple. There are signs to look for when someone is close to death--their feet will get cold and that cold will move up the leg. When it gets to the knee, time is close. That hasn't happened yet. The doctors can't accurately tell us. So we make her as comfortable as possible while she is still living.

For us, we are planning for her death while she is still alive, which is bizarre, to say the least. But necessary. Because it would be much harder to make all the arrangements afterwards.

Living for us revolves around her, which she hates. But her daughter told her today that we're not leaving her, and that's that. She just has to accept that we're here where we want to be.

I guess in a strange sense, we're all living while we're dying, because we all will get there some day, and none of us knows when. So even more than ever, my idea of how I'm living is evolving. Getting clear about who is important, who I can let go of, what is important, what I can let go of, and what other work I need to do on myself to feel complete.

Blessings, my friends,
Karen

9 comments:

Cyndi said...

This is a surreal experience, just waiting for someone to die and making arrangements while they're still alive. It really does hammer home the reality of our mortality and that of the other people in our lives who are important to us. Get busy living or get busy dying, right?

Mason Canyon said...

It's a sad fact that we must face death from a personal place before we can truly appreciate living. For those who death hasn't touched someone close to them, they are fortunate in some ways but not in others. I don't think they really understand just how precious life is. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Joanne said...

What lessons life teaches us, through all the ups and downs. You sound very tuned in to the situation and to all around you, absorbing and being in the moment.

Tamika: said...

We are all dying everyday. This is life is just a glint of the time that will spend in eternity. Every day is a gift to savor.

Sally said...

Because I work for hospice, I so often think about the lessons we learn from those who are reaching the end of this earthly life... I love your thought "Getting clear about who is important, who I can let go of, what is important, what I can let go of, and what other work I need to do on myself to feel complete."
You encapsulate so well thoughts about a life well lived.
Grateful you all can be spending time with your mother-in-law. Grateful that you are spelling each other, giving each other space to be away. She'll need some space too as she does the spiritual work of this part of her journey....
Keeping you in my prayers

Elspeth Antonelli said...

We've just experienced a similar event here: it is a somewhat surreal feeling.

Be strong. Feel the warmth of the sunlight on your skin and the breeze against your face. Find peace, as your mother-in-law seems to have done already.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There is so much truth to that statement, Karen!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

We're all living on borrowed time, aren't we? And it's up to us to consciously take advantage of our moments. Although...I'll admit to being so busy that sometimes I'm not consciously enjoying the day. Thanks again for the reminder.

Elizabeth

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds as though being with her as she meets death is teaching you a lot about yourself and causing you to look inward.

Helen
Straight From Hel