I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. My father had been admitted to hospital for severe stomach pain that was thought to be diverticulitis. Two days later at work, my phone rang. “You need to come now”. My heart dropped and I felt sick inside. I raced to the hospital and I could see on everyone’s faces, it wasn’t good news. He had pancreatic cancer and about six months to live. I had thousands of emotions running through me, disbelief, anger, sadness and most of all fear…………fear of being without him. What would I do? How would I cope? Who would look out for me? He was everything to me and I couldn’t lose him. The thought of never speaking to him again or hugging him was unimaginable and as we left the hospital I sobbed. I cried for everything that I was going to miss having him around for. In my solitude at home, I sobbed some more, I punched the pillow in anger and I screamed into it until I was exhausted but even that night, sleep evaded me and my days and nights just rolled into one, passing me by without noticing them much.
A few days after my father was diagnosed, he phoned me at work. A few sentences into the conversation and I burst into tears again. “I’m still here” he said, “I’ve not gone”. Later that night as I lay in bed quietly weeping his words came back to me and my brain registered. Yes, he’s right. I’m acting like he’s gone already but he’s still here and he needs me as much as I need him. In your emotional turmoil remember this, your loved one is with you – right now. Don’t let your fears of what the future may hold take away the joy you can have of the present and make each day count – enjoying every moment with them.
Making the most of the present:
Talk together about the things you usually would such as events, family, interests you both have.
Laugh together about all the memories you’ve shared
Touch each other. Physical contact is important for most people so hug and hold hands
Make a memory box and start filling it during your time together with photos, keepsakes, letters and cards.
Create a memory jar. Each day write down something you did together or spoke about or laughed about. Date it, fold it and put it in your memory jar.
“The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Debra Bragança / Counsellor & Psychotherapist / Anchoring Your Life Counselling & Coaching
Specialising in Anxiety, Depression, Grief & Relationships