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  • Writer's pictureH.D. Lee

Supporting a Loved One during Difficult Times

Updated: Apr 29



It has been several months since I have written and published an article on my life coaching website. I am conscious of this, because I had communicated to some of you that I would write something of interest to you once a month. A part of me wants to say “life took over”, which you will read about immediately below; but, that feels irresponsible to me in some way. Perhaps I have simply not been committed to my monthly writing. Commitment is key in sustained efforts of any kind; and here I admit that it is also difficult for me sometimes to strike that balance between following the flow of Life and remaining committed to certain projects I set out to do. The two things (flow of Life and commitments) have a particular relationship, and it is one that I am continuing to explore and learning to master. 


Well, I want to share with you that I have been going through challenging times these past seven months. My mother has been dealing with health issues, and so I decided I would take an extended leave from my home base in Belgium and go half way around the world to help her recover. In short, I have been living out of my suitcase and AirBnBs for weeks at at time. This period has been difficult first and foremost because it brought me closer to the inevitable end of those that I love. A loved one’s eventual departure no longer seems to be far in the future when your own mother, whom you remember to be vibrant and life loving just two or three years ago, begins to go through a steep and sudden decline. It is particularly unsettling when I look into my mother’s eyes and not see her there fully sometimes.

 

If “Life is Change” is a fundamental truths that I believe we all must work with, then what change am I being invited to embrace, and toward what end? In my mother’s case, one of the very first things for me to account for was to recognize my time with her is limited. There is a definite difference as one moves from being peripherally aware to knowing in one’s gut a certain truth. What do I want to do in light of the certain and visible decline of my mother? What can I do? What attitude do I adopt to best support my mother with her recovery? The answer to these questions did not come to me through thinking alone. Instead, I had to live these questions on a daily basis through being there for my mother. 

 

All in all, it became easier to not take for granted my time with my mother. While we did not spend twenty-fours a day together, I mostly approached our time as a gift. That is, I had in the back of my mind that my mom will not always be there, so I would best serve our time together by being appreciative, fun, observant, positive, supportive, loving, and helpful. This list of qualities is not something I thought up or try to embody in an intentional manner. Rather, I simply held in my heart and mind the semi-conscious thought of “how can I best serve my mom and myself?” so that when we look back at this moment together from the future, we will think it could not have been done any better. This is how I guided myself. Meanwhile, I still did all of the things I would normally do to set myself up for a day of maximum flow and stability: morning meditations, exercises, prayers, affirmations, journaling, naps, stimulating readings, conversations with good friends, et cetera. I also scheduled, to the extent I could, other commitments that would take my mind off of the serious matter of my mom’s health. Sure, there were more to this situation with my mom’s health and my experiences with it, including moments of exhaustion, extreme irritation, and a sense of futility. However, I will share the rest of what I’ve learned another time. Until then, I wish you a beautiful month ahead as we leave winter behind and welcome the season of spring into our lives.


This article was published originally as the March 2024 "Life is Change" article.

photograph credit (top): “Bloemendaal Reflexion” By Ria

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