29 March 2012

Fading Flowers

When my dad died, he was sick and miserable so death was a relief for him and us. He wasn’t healthy prior to his diagnosis and his fight wasn’t very long. 

My grandparents died suddenly when I was young so I didn’t experience aging with them at all.

Watching Kevin’s mom slowly deteriorate is heart-wrenching.  For the first time I do understand what the description of faded flower as applied to a person means.

Every once in awhile we will glimpse how she used to be.  We will see just a moment of clarity in her attitude or a burst of activity that she is not usually capable of and remember how she used to be.

It is jarring as the deterioration was subtle at first then brutal over the last two months.  I glanced at an older picture of her the other day and was struck at how much she has changed.  It seems so long ago now. She is another person now.

Also, hindsight is 20/20.  We can see now when things took a turn for the worse and how she hid it.  And frankly that we probably avoided acknowledging it.

I have had this debate in the past: what is preferable a slow death or a sudden one?  I chose sudden because slow is excruciating for everyone involved.’

She is frustrated when she realizes how frail she has become.  She is also embarrassed and humiliated that she can no longer be the person she has been all her life: a wife, mom, grandmother, aunt, and friend. 

So yeah, faded flower to describe Kevin’s mom is apt. 


Swistle said...

So sad.

I had a big jolt today: I'd been thinking of how I hoped my parents wouldn't have a long stage where they were more dependent than they'd like to be, or where there were mental issues that would be upsetting if they were aware of them---and today I suddenly realized I could now start getting nervous that those things would happen to ME.

Wendy said...

Although a slow death is excruciating to observe, I think the chance to do your grieving while you still have them with you (to a degree) is somewhat cathartic. It takes away the fear of losing them because by the time they leave us, it almost appears a blessing. The time you have with them usually allows you to come to terms with past and/or unresolved issues because you realize that this is the last chance you will have to let go, forgive and just love.
When someone dies unexpectedly you may not have the pain of watching them deteriorate but the pain you are left with when you have had no chance to say the things you always meant to say, to know that working through past grievances can no longer happen, to always wonder if the person who is gone really knew how you truly felt, be it good or bad, seems more of a burden than having to witness their slow demise. A debilitating and terminal disease is a terrible and painful thing to observe but it is a temporary thing. Being told someone significant, or someone that you love, has suddenly passed can leave you with a pain and discomfort that you most likely will carry with you the rest of your days.