Top 10 Things to Know Before Your Parents Go List
Each week I'll address a topic I've learned after losing both parents to cancer. Dad died at age 63 from mesothelioma (a fatal asbestos related cancer) and Mom at age 68 from a uterine sarcoma (a high fatality cancer). They'd both been healthy, active people. So they're deaths at relatively young ages came as a sad shock.
I'd love and appreciate hearing anything you dear readers have to add based on your own experiences.
For more information on mesothelioma click here http://mesothelioma.net
The first crucial thing to know:
Let yourself be sad and cry when your parents get sick and die.
People will tell you to buck up, be strong, keep a stiff upper lip and all that. While no one wants to dissolve into a puddle and be unable to function we don't need to be Superman or Wonder Woman when faced with the imminent death of a parent.
There's strength in vulnerability. It's okay for us to cry in front of our children. That way they'll know we're hurting. Maybe they'll even be nicer to us as a result. My oldest teenaged daughter lost some of her tough 'tude when she saw me cry. She asked, "Is everything okay Mom?" After I recovered from my initial shock that she'd pulled herself away from Facebook long enough to notice, I realized that witnessing my sadness enabled her to be empathetic. Empathy is good - especially in teenagers.
A lot of people get VERY squeamish regarding the subject of terminal illness and death. They might say things you don't want to hear like "People survive cancer if they keep a positive attitude" or "Your mother is in a better place." Let's face it - death and dying aren't fun topics. No one likes talking about them at cocktail parties. We live in a death-denying, youth-worshiping culture.
So what to do? Tap into your friends that can handle it - that can cry along with you or let you cry. Seek out people that have lost one or both parents because they can definitely relate. If you can't find a soul that wants to listen to death talk, find a therapist, grief counselor or support group. Find a sympathetic ear somewhere! Then cry it out. You'll feel better!!