Until 2012, mom was always the healthy one, seeing my dad through one health problem after another: Stroke. Diabetes. Colon cancer. Kidney failure. Until one day, to her great surprise and ours, mom became the patient.
Our last trip together was to Charleston, South Carolina.
I'm still processing the events of the past 13 months. It's often hard to believe that mom is really gone and not coming back. In some ways, it feels almost like I've been living in a cave, isolated from the real world. When I emerged from the cave, I encountered all the things I've neglected for the past year, and it's a long list. My dad still requires a great deal of help, as well, not all of which he's entirely receptive to.
Overwhelm has perhaps been my greatest ongoing challenge. I think I expected to feel more relief by now, but so far it hasn't worked out that way. I am grateful that my mom is no longer in pain, so there is an element of relief in that, to be sure, but the rest still feels pretty relentless, even though the scenery has changed a bit.
So for now, my work is to simply do what I can, as mindfully as I can, knowing I won't get all caught up in a day or a week or even a month. In this moment, I don't have to know exactly how I will be able to cross the finish line. I only have to know how to take the next step.