My mother moved in with me in October 2019. She was grieving from the loss of her husband of 42 years and trying to adjust to leaving her home. Six weeks later, she had a mild stroke and needed to recover in a hospital and rehabilitation center. When she was released, I didn’t know if she would be able to stay with me. I started looking for alternative care, and around that time the Covid-19 pandemic began. I stopped looking. Fortunately, she was able to live with me until recently.
A hospice nurse lived across from us, and one day she inquired about my mother. Sue told me that she had helped several people transition at the end of their lives. She observed that many of them seemed to hang on until they had taught their loved ones the lessons they needed to learn. She said that Mom would leave when I learned those lessons. I started looking for them, and I realized that her message was a special gift. These are the lessons I’ve learned:
- The future comes at lightning speed.
- Make the most of your present, and take each day as it comes.
- Appreciate the simple things in life.
- Find the humor in every day living. Laugh…a lot!
- Slow down, and be patient.
- Take good care of your body for now and later. In the long run, it will make your life easier.
- Capture the moments! Photographs can trigger happy memories that might have been lost.
- Let people do what they want to do. They’re probably going to do it anyway.
- If people want to be part of your life, enjoy the time that you have with them, and let the others go.
The number one lesson I learned from my mother during these two years is how to age gracefully. Living with her at this late stage gave me a glimpse into the person that I want to be for the rest of my life.
Mom moved into a skilled nursing facility recently, and she’s surrounded by people who can take care of her needs. This has been an answer to a prayer. The first one was that she would live a long, healthy life. I can visit her frequently and continue to learn those valuable lessons as this journey continues.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” ―