Yesterday we buried my mother-in-law, Pauline. It was a brief service with only one non-family member attending. I tried to gently remind those who were grieving that the body resting in the coffin was just that, not Pauline, just the shell she had inhabited while here on earth. She was not there; she had gone Home. No matter what you believe, how prepared you think you are for a loved one's death, it always comes as a surprise and leaves a hole in the fabric of your life. With Pauline, we were lucky, if you can call it that. She simply went from working her Sudoku puzzle to slipping quietly away. Yes, it was a shock, even though she was nearly 89 years old, but having watched my mother slowly die of lung cancer over a period of three years, I believe her family was lucky. There was not the gradual fading away of someone with a terminal illness. Watching my mother bravely try all chemo and radiation therapy that was offered, just to buy my father a little time to get used to the idea of being without her, was very painful and tiring. I knew too, because we had discussed this when other members of her family were diagnosed with cancer, that if my father were not in the picture, she would have refused all treatment except that which would hold the pain at bay. Mama thought, before she left us, she could teach Dad things he had never had to learn before. Simple things like how to do laundry, wash dishes, cook simple dishes, write checks. She succeeded somewhat. But day by day we had to watch the misery of the treatments, the loss of quality of life as the disease progressed, the person we knew slowly slipping away from us while the body remained. And when the cancer reached her brain and she thought things that were not at all like her, such as thinking she was going back in time, even to believing she was starting to menstruate again, let me tell you that I grieved more then rather than when we were told she had died. Why tell you this? Two reasons: 1 - if you have a loved one who has to make decisions about his/her health and treatments, please be certain they are aware of all options and the side effects of each - how it will effect the quality of his/her remaining days. The choices about those options should be theirs alone. You might not like what they decide, but you should respectfully support their decision.
2 - I came across this while idely surfing the web and picking up quotations (more about that later) and want to share it with you:
On a brighter note, here are your freebies. First, Motocross Fun:
And A Purple Pause:
Clearly these will run over into February and for me, it is just as well. Need time to make a Valentine for you plus February goal sheets.