How Do I Prepare Myself For Death?

Readers send me questions at Some, I answer personally because they are so personal and specific to the writer. Others however, I feel the need to share on this blog.

This question was about the death of a mother. Jennifer’s mom has been in the care of hospice for 2 weeks and her passing is imminent. Jennifer is an only child, and has no relationship with her father and is trying her best to prepare for saying goodbye and finding herself alone.

As you know by now, the goal of this blog is to tell you the truth always. To be the voice that I didn’t have when I was taking care of my own parents. And the truth here is, there is no way to prepare. Absolutely none, but here are a few things that I did to at least make things a little easier for myself those first few days…

I wrote a text message, and saved it in my phone, that let my friends and family know that my mother had died. It gave the information for the services and it gave a phone number of someone to contact that could give them further details. I wrote this weeks in advance, and when my mom died, I didn’t have to think about what to say. I sent it to everyone who loved us and put my phone away so I could fall apart in peace.
Hospice told me that when her nails began to become bluish around the cuticle that she would pass soon. When I noticed it, I began to clean her house from top to bottom. It kept my mind busy and it was one less thing we were going to have to do later.
I let my friends know what I was going to need ahead of time. Each one had a job. The most important one was the friend who immediately poured wine in my glass and kept me appropriately numb. Have another friend who answers your phone. Believe me, your are going to get tired very quickly of having to force conversations that just leave you in tears anyway.
I wrote thank you cards in advance. They all said the same thing. But I wrote them, put them in envelopes and put a return address on them. After the services, a friend of the family addressed them to those who signed the guess book at the funeral. My mother taught me well, “always send a thank you note!” She would have been proud 🙂
None of these things will remove the pain of losing your mother. There is no book, or quote or advice that will truly train you to handle grief. But you will. You are SO much braver than you think you are. When it’s bad, let it be bad. When you find yourself laughing, allow that too. One day you will look up, like I have, and realize that you have made it through to the other side. It’s still hard over here some days, but I made it. And I have faith that you will surprise yourself with your strength. God bless you honey….

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