When breath becomes air

This is the title of the New York Times bestseller book. It's about a neurosurgeon resident who develops lung cancer and his experience as he's surviving. Eventually he did not make it. last night we attended a presentation from his wife who wrote the epilogue to his book.

I've been struggling with how to help my mother cope with her health issues. Positiveness, rationalism and empathy are not working. I know all too well how easy it is to become self absorbed in your own suffering. And sometimes we deserve time to wallow. But staying there does not help her or anyone else.

Lucy K. ( last night speaker) gave some helpful suggestions but I'm going to try today: asking what she fears most and asking her for a list of things the she needs and then determining how I can help.

Great book to consider.

13 Replies

  • erash let me know how that works for you. Something l might consider with my mom.

    Jes ♡

  • Unfortunately, she continued in such a self-pity mood today, I didn't try anything 😥

  • I'm sorry erash l dont know what to tell you. Hopefully today will be better?

    I asked my brothers how they dealt with it, both said they don't live in town, 1 said he doesn't answer because he's super busy. My other just tells her to stop it. And they both said it was my job to deal with it -_- ♡ l hate them both . ♡

    So good luck today!

  • Jesmcd2 it usually does fall on the daughters shoulders. My brothers care but don't seem to feel the responsibility to fix.

    I've decided, I can't fix. I will at least be there and listen.

    I did ask her and my father to make a "needs list" but she replied, "we are ok" of course in the next breath she complained that my father, while doing his best, doesn't clean the way she used to and there are specks of dirt on the floor.

    Ha ha! I've always joked that I did well in the Army because of my mothers white glove tests when I did chores 😜

  • Lol l blame my mom for my OCD ugh! Except she keeps EVERYTHING. Til l get on her to throw things away. Me? I was married to the Navy, l dont like " stuff " to much to pack :D

    You know what l mean erash !?!

    My mom asked if l would come over and clean for her. I told her straight up, if you love me, you will never ask me that again lolol l refuse. The stress would put me in the hospital. ugh

    Gotta love our moms ♡

  • Certainly something to look out for. Thanks Erash, blessings Jimeka

  • Erash, it's Fancy1959 responding to your post. Erash, the book does indeed sound powerful and deep. I, too, dealt with my aging mother and tried to help her cope with her journey toward the end of her life. My dad, Joe, had passed 8 years before my mom and all she talked about was going to see Joe again.. It was as if no matter what we said or did she could only focus on seeing dad once again.

    It was extremely difficult if not impossible to use rational and caring to make her see her life was worth continuing. She had had shingles 2 years earlier and they were so intense she never recovered from the nerve pain. It seems she wanted nothing but to go find Joe. With that in mind myself and three other siblings did our best to ease mom's passed to the end of her days. There was no talking to her or using rationale to figure out a way to help her. All we could do in the end was support her by bringing in groceries and clean the house, etc.

    Sometimes no matter how much we want to be involved with our parents end of life decisions and keep them with us we must realize there comes a time when they decide they have lived a long and prosperous life and they are simply tired.

    The steps that Lucy K. Inspired you to take with your mom are indeed insightful. They are not only helping your mother but they are also helping you take a positive role in her health care. By making a list of what she needs from you and asking her what she is afraid of you are meeting her physical needs and her spiritual needs at the same time. Please let me know how they work. What kind of response your mother has to them. And the total overall outcome of following Lucy K. advise.

  • Thank you Fancy1959

    Wise words.

    It's true. People want to remain independent. My sibs and I have suggested they either move to our areas or consider a community living situation.

    I hold my breath when my 84 yr old father, Joe, stubbornly climbs a ladder to change an AC filter 🙁

  • My mum always used to tell me that children are only lent to us and that they bring their own love with them. I think as time goes on and we get older we have to realise that our parents are only lent to us so we have to make the most of them while we have them. Whenever my children and grandchildren excel at something the first person I want to tell is my mum, so I look up at heaven and tell both my mum and dad, it makes me feel better, so enjoy while you can, blessings Jimeka

  • jimeka that is so beautiful. Makes me teary eyed.

  • The book arrived x

  • I hope you enjoy (not sure that's the appropriate word)

  • This is a reply I made to someone suggesting a solution to depression. If you have not experienced it you do not understand it so you need to be very careful with advice. It can be a very serious and debilitating mental illness. Good luck with it.


    Steve Johns says:

    November 1, 2016 at 8:03 PM

    I would add that there is a wide spectrum of severity in depression and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. For some it can be relatively easy to adjust their thinking and that is all that is needed. I have been “counselling” a friend who’'s thinking and actions were consistent with depression. He was very resistant to seeking help or medication. Finally I said “Mate, as I'’ve said before, the drugs can help and everyone wants to help you but there’'s only one person who can sort this out, you. You’'ve got a lovely family but everyone’s got a braking point. Don’t leave it until you come home to an empty house and a note on the table.” He snapped out of it. He was at the minor end of the spectrum. I have been depressed and suicidal for over 40 years and on medication for 20. It ended up costing me my marriage, my dream job and my farm. I am further along the scale. There is no way that someone with my level of severity or worse can just snap out of it. I have finally been able to learn how to apply the methodology of CBT, combined with medication, to manage it. It is a daily, and sometimes difficult, mental exercise. Some are not that lucky. You must always be careful to stress that your solutions are what works for you or you may well be adding low self esteem to someone else’s problem.


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