When my Mom died on December 9, 2015, she did not go out with her boots on. Her decline had spanned more than a decade as she became ever frailer and her life more circumscribed. Our family journey was no more difficult than that of any family with a loved one on a downhill decline. You put one foot in front of another and follow a path you likely would not choose if given the choice.This essay is about the very end of my Mom's life. Since first penning it (in March 2016), I have been grappling with the complexity of my emotions and with how early readers have responded to my story. Along the way, I have learned that most of the grief and bereavement literature focuses on the time after a death. It is as if the grief clock starts ticking when the heart stops beating. There seems to be little research on adjusting to dying as a process that, at least in my family's case, did not begin on the day my Mom died. The small body of literature on the incremental losses that come with illness and aging—as the work of researchers such as Sara J.
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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