Death comes softly, but not without great amounts of time

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

One might ask, what is the main goal of a caregiver or even a family member’s degree of

care for an elderly loved one? Should we just stand by with silence, or should we step in and give our family member all the love and tender care they deserve?

Some close family members do not have the desire or even the ability to care for an ill relative.

This is understandable, especially if they have such a lifestyle that involves working full time and also caring for their own families with young children. However, I am a true believer that the very ill parent is entitled to all the love and quality care they deserve.

In 2008 there are many elderly fathers and mothers who are left alone, and sometimes the family has a very difficult decision to make.

At that point in life do we place the loved one in a nursing home or “Rehabilitative Center?” Make no mistake, a really great nursing home has a caring and qualified staff to offer the best care available. But what has happened to our society when the other family members will not visit the parent or even make a phone call to their loved ones for a weekly check?

I was a family caregiver and I can tell you my parent was unable to care for herself, especially during the last three months of my mother’s precious life.

As her spirit became weaker and the quality of her life became depleted, depression came to her as never before. I never gave up on her well-being, but deep down inside I was trying to come to the reality that time was coming close to the end.

And so it did, while she was in the hospital. This beautiful and devoted mother and grandmother never did enter a nursing home. All the love and quality care came from her daughter, friends and the hospital staff.

She was 89 years old and had a full and happy life. My thoughts came to me today, when one of my relatives reminded me: We should have admitted my mother in a rehab center a long time ago.

Shocked with pain and disbelief — I am proud to say I never had one regret taking care of her in our home.

Even staying up late at night to help her when she was so sick and needed her daughter by her side.

Being of native American descent gave me the strength and courage to fight for my mother’s wishes and, yes, let her life pass with grace and dignity.

Her life was a celebration. She was a joy and a real treasure to everyone. My memories are all that remains and they are of a great comfort.

I do pray that all families will come together when their loved ones are so very ill and spend time with them or even help their caregivers with the respect and devotion they deserve.

So when the end comes, their loved one’s death will come softly.

Kathey Wade lives in Franklin.