We met with Alan, the Hospice counselor, today.
On our way to Hospice Jon-Daniel sat with his arms crossed muttering “I don’t need to see anyone” under his breath. “I am like you Oumie. We don’t talk…”
“Yeah” I said. “But I really think the time has come for us to talk to someone. Besides it is part of the Hospice thing. We have to do it!”
“The whole day I was thinking of shrink jokes” Jared said. “Do you think I can ask him ‘how does this make you feel?‘”
We all laughed.
“Guys if we don’t talk to the counselor we may have to come back…. Let’s answer all the questions and get it over and done with….” I cautioned
Alan is a short young man. I think he is in his early thirty’s. We shook hands and he asked us how we wanted to “do it?”
The boys went in on their own. I sat in the waiting room saying a little prayer that they would open up to this professional stranger who is an expert in dealing with death. Thirty minutes later I was invited in.
“The boys tell me they are coping well. They don’t see the reason for seeing me…..What do you think? Are you guys coping?”
I was truly taken aback. “Yes, I think we are coping. ”
“So Tersia, why do you think the boys need to see me?”
I did not speak for a couple of minutes. I was grappling with my brain as to how much I should tell this stranger.
“I think the emotional roller coaster is getting to us. We have said our goodbyes so many times and Vic always bounces back!” I eventually said.
“Yes, Jon-Daniel said so” Alan replied.
“I worry that the boys live in a home where death lingers. There is not enough laughter in our home. It saddens me when they stand next to their Mom’s bed and I see the helplessness in their eyes!” I mused
“I get impatient with Vic. When she has half a breath she will organize a party. When the pain medication works she will not pace herself. She will hurt herself and then I have to pick up the pieces. Sometimes I am scared that her suffering will not end. ” I continued.
“What type of party will she organize?” Alan asked.
The boys and I laughed!
“It is only a figure of speech….” we explained. “She will try and do things with the boys and hurt herself.”
“What type of things?” Alan asked
“Drive and take us for a milkshake” Jared replied.
“Mom forgets things and she thinks we are all against her… Yesterday she said to me that I must not feel guilty if she dies and I am cross with her…Mom always thinks we are fighting with her….” Jon-Daniel said.
“It is not about the final moments. It is not the final words or even the final disagreement. It is about the life and all the years of loving before death and dying…. You must not ever blame yourself for anything. Life is hard for all of you right now. It is okay to be scared and to get irritated. You must tell your Mom how you feel. I am not saying you must back-chat. What I am saying is that you must tell your Mom how her actions and illness makes you feel. The household consists of more than one person…. You all have the right to living…”
The boys asked to see Alan for another session…. Thank you God for another angel!