The past year has been tough on my entire family, beginning with mum’s initial diagnosis up until the end 2 weeks ago.   When I am ready I will write about that experience. I am not ready to do that today.

What I AM ready to write about today, however, is my surprise, both good and bad, at the behaviour of people during the course of mum’s illness.

“At least it’s not as bad as what my sister has” and “you really have to stop being so self-centered” are two examples of what NOT to say to someone when you enquire as to their mother’s health. No exceptions.

“I am feeling very left out – why can’t I walk the dog? I’ve known her longer” and “but I really want to see her – I don’t think she would mind” and then just dropping by after being told in no uncertain terms NO VISITORS are examples of what not to bother the family with in these situations.

On a more positive note, a lot of good came out of this past month – I got to spend an entire month with my delicious niece, Lola, and her mother, my sister Paula.   We hadn’t spent that much time together in forever and it was truly wonderful.  Hell, we even shared a bed for two weeks because space was tight.   We went through a lot together as sisters this last month, including witnessing a tornado while the rest of the town seemingly slept through it – alcohol and/or pharmaceuticals may or may not have been at work. When you live on opposite sides of the country it is easy to disconnect and become distant. I am glad we have not.

We were also surrounded by family and friends and I cannot even being to express how special that was.  Everyone took on a role and excelled at it, be it caregiver, nurturer or court jester.   I can honestly say that we would not have made it through without them.

We are hearing from people whom we haven’t in a very long time, either due to distance or changes in life or whatever, but upon hearing of mum’s death the outpour of love and concern has been unbelievable. Though the letters and cards are sometimes hard to read, read and treasure them we do.

On the other end of that spectrum I am more than a little shocked and disappointed in the silence from others.   I understand that some people have a problem expressing their grief.  Get over it.   Sending a card, an email, a text message is not difficult.   And honestly, it would make all the difference in the world.

Death truly is a part of life.

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