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Friday, December 16, 2011

Returning to Family

The last few days I've been at my parents, well, most of the time at the new nursing home Mom is now in. They have classified her as "end of life" care and are doing all they can to make her comfortable. She experiences small moments of knowing all of us, but for the most part she recedes to a place only she inhabits. We can tell when she's in pain, and we work to make the pain less so, but knowing to what level the pain is is almost impossible. Watching a loved one decline is incredibly difficult, but from another's suffering comes gifts for those of us saying goodbye.

The largest gift of all has been family getting to know one another again. Over the last thirty years, we've all led very busy lives, sometimes so busy we forgot about family. Occasionally we planned a family get-together, but those were few and far between. Since Mom's decline began, we've seen each other often, gathering at my sister's place, at the nursing home, and at restaurants for meals. We've remembered so many funny times, talked about our kids and their lives, and laughed over the goofiness of my younger brother. In the midst of loss, we are finding our way back to being family.

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