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Christian Writing Ministry It’s been almost 2 years since my mom died and sometimes it seems like it’s been forever and other times it feels like it was just last week. What a 2 years it’s been. A few months after my mom died, my 16 year old cat, Titus got sick; he was sick almost a year and then we had to have him put to sleep. That was really hard; Titus was the last cat I had from my “old life”. (I had put my other cat, Brandy to sleep 2 years previously.) He was with me before I got married and moved out to the suburbs. In a way it felt like he was all I had left of what was just me; me when I was alone.  Does that make any sense?  A couple of months after we had Titus put to sleep we got two baby kitties who are sisters and they have been a blessing and such fun!  Less than 6 months after my mom died, my sister-in-law’s husband Chip, died of cancer, he was 58. He went fast. Just a couple of months ago, my favorite Aunt Elsie died, she was 96 and she also went fast.

Looking back, it’s been a journey; these last 2 years; well actually 3. My mom needed help the last year of her life so I tried to take care of her the best I could. Funny, when I type those words “best I could” I don’t feel like that’s the truth. I feel like I could have done so much better. There are times I look back and beat myself up for the things I said or did, or didn’t do or didn’t say. There are many things I wish I could take back and do differently. I’ve had to learn to have grace with myself, to realize I’m human and imperfection comes with being human. My mom told people that I was her “right arm” and she told me many times that she didn’t know what she’d do without me. I realize by those statements that I did do a good job taking care of her. She felt loved and cared for and that’s what matters most. I did the same thing after we had Titus put to sleep; I beat myself up for the times that I yelled at him or was impatient with him. Again, I had to learn to give myself grace, forgiveness and accept my humanity. I’ve learned how I can do better in the future with people and animals that need me. Hopefully I will apply what I’ve learned when and if I get another chance to care for someone who is close to the end of their life.

I did apply some of these things I learned when I went to visit Elsie the last couple of times. I sat very near to her, held her hand whenever possible and told her I loved her. I kissed her when we arrived and when we left. I wanted her to feel and to know that she was cared for and loved.

A little while back, I read a book that changed my life. It’s called “Nearing Home” by Billy Graham and the thing that stuck with me the most from the book is that most of us know what it means and what it looks like to die well. But, do we know how to grow old well?  Not really. We don’t hear about that. I realized that I had some really great mentors in my life; my Dad, Mom and Aunt Elsie are all people in my life that grew old well.

All the events of the last 3 years: my mom going into the hospital and needing care for a year; my cat Brandy (17) being put to sleep; my cat Titus (17) being put to sleep; my mom died; Chip died; my aunt Elsie died and I turned 50 (the year my mom died). All these events along with reading the book Nearing Home have brought me to a place of reflection. I am now at the top of the family tree; the top branch. Wow! Am I ready for that? I’ve prayed about this new season in my life. What does it hold for me? How am I to grow old well? This led me to making some changes in myself; I got my hair cut about 4” shorter, cleaned out and gave away all the t-shirts in one dresser drawer (it was packed FULL with band t-shirts, and from places I volunteered, etc), started playing with lighter eye make-up and slowly changing the style of my clothes. I also started looking around at people I respect who are close to my age or a little older and noticing how they conduct themselves, how they dress, their hairstyle, etc. I’ve also noticed a few new things about me: I’m a little bit more patient, forgiving and accepting….just a little. I’m hoping, in time that will grow in me. I’m also hoping that I will grow old well.

1 comment

  1. Julia

    You are beautiful, inside and out. The milestones of loss are now pieces of who you are becoming. You are caring, compassionate, kind, and oh so loving to those closest to you. You indeed are growing beautifully well. Keep listening and seeking what’s next.


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