Grief - An Ongoing Journey.......
I look back now and ask myself how I got through a year and a half of taking care of my mother and father, who were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the same time. I will never minimize the courage and strength it took to parent my own parents. I will never minimize the courage and strength it took to be by their bedside holding their hand and watching them die, only 36 days apart of each other. Saying goodbye to my father simply taught me how to lose one parent. It did not prepare me for the loss of my mother 36 days later. When my father died, my world was dramatically altered, but yet I still had my mother. When my mother died I lost all ties – my history and sense of connection to the past. I lost the final buffer between me and death.
I look back now and recognize that so much of my strength and courage came from my constant prayers to God. He carried me throughout this process and later gently put me down to grieve. I have found that my grieving process has been difficult even now two years later. Shortly after my mother and father passed away I wrote a book appropriately titled “36 Days Apart.” My book was born, so to speak from the journal that I kept while taking care of my parents. In writing this book it has helped me grieve. By keeping a journal helped me grieve and come to peace within myself by accepting that my mother and father were going to die.
Having a support network is very important to me. I have slowly built one and have continued my writing (journaling). I’ve written many poems that have also helped me with my grieving process and I’ve accepted that grief is an ongoing journey.
Six months ago, my husband was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. He was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. After removal of the tumor and 35 treatments of radiation he very recently developed double vision, at which time the experts at John Hopkins diagnosed him now with a brain lesion.
Once again, I find myself praying to God. Once again I ask him for the courage and strength needed to go through this journey. Because of my journey with my parents I have faith that I will get through. I continue to write, I continue to feel and I continue to reach out.
Deborah Ann Tornillo
Author, “36 Days Apart”