Thursday 29 July 2021

When My Heart Gently Whispered.... It's Time to Let Go

It is my pleasure to host this guest post from caregiver and writer, Ruth Berzins. This blog post is part of a series on grief published on the Madiha Foundation website. The Madiha Foundation's mission is to improve people's mental health and empower women. The foundation offers simple yet effective programs as well as a blog that reflects issues related to its mission and values. Madiha's core values are compassion, respect and creativity. - Donna

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a Sunday afternoon in March of 2014 and I was sitting by my Mother’s bedside at the nursing home. It was quiet that afternoon and all I could hear as I sat there was the gentle rhythm of the oxygen machine. My Mom’s health had started to decline and she was gradually getting weaker so I sat by her bedside, sitting quietly so that she could rest. 

For the past number of weeks, my sister and I would come in the evening to visit her and my Mom would share how her day went and how she was feeling. Always in the back of my mind was the hope that gradually she would be able to get stronger and be able to come back home again. I never shared that with her, but that was always my hope. 

I remember one day my Mom mentioned that she missed having fruit, as she was adjusting to the meals at the nursing home. So I would bring her raspberries and blackberries to help with her strength. And she always enjoyed them so it seemed the right thing to do. 

Yet this Sunday was different. It was the way that she spoke that I could sense the difference. Even after all these weeks of visiting with her, I still hadn’t found the courage to share my observations with her. It was that afternoon that I realized that she wouldn’t be coming home again. That what I was witnessing was the gradual decline of her health and I needed to prepare myself emotionally for the days ahead. 

Up until then, my focus had been on assisting her and helping her get stronger. And seeing that she was safe and cared for. But in the silence by her bedside, something changed for me that afternoon. I had loved her and been devoted to her my entire life …..but now the time had come to let her go. 

I had done everything I could to assist her and now my role would be a different one. Now was the time to be close by her side, to witness the changes as she became noticeably weaker and to be by her bedside as she passed on from this life. 

There was something sacred about that afternoon. There was a deep knowing in my body that her life as I knew it had now come to an end. So I needed to let go of my hopes and dreams of her coming back home to us and to honour the years that she had been a part of our lives. 

My Mother’s health continued to decline and just 2 ½ weeks later she was transferred to the Palliative Care Unit of the hospital. We were fortunate that she was fully aware of her surroundings right till the very last day so we had a chance to be with her and to say our goodbyes. She died on a Sunday morning, with all of the family there, by her bedside. 

Ruth's Parents

About the author: Ruth Berzins is a guest writer for the Madiha FoundationThis blog post is the third one in a series about grief. The series began with “In memory of my father” followed by “When a new wound makes all the old wounds ache”. Apart from caregiving, Ruth has worked in the field of employment counselling for a period of 25 years and has loved the opportunity to help individuals reach their career goals. She is passionate about the need for improving the mental health of individuals and the need to ensure that all people have access to a safe and supportive work environment.

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