Exhaustion hit hardest when I was finally forced to slow down. I retreated to the couch of the hospice waiting room, without a second thought as to who would see me lying there or what they might think. In the meantime, YaYa did his cursive homework and BoBo was in his group session. I succumbed to the silent screams of pain.
I knew that I was not alone in my suffering. On the outside, the hospice waiting room seems peaceful but, when you get quiet enough, you can hear the cries of sorrow of those seeking relief from the ongoing ache. I closed my eyes, listened, and let the thoughts come and go. I took deep breaths and let a little of the loneliness release. Then, I began to pray for my children, for myself, and for the many who are suffering a similar pain.
As I lie there, I could hear the janitor as he pushed past me with his cart of cleaning supplies. He slowed with curiosity, wondering what my story was. Why was I lying there, in the waiting room of a local hospice? Then it hit him. I could hear his cart speed up as the realization finally hit him. It was grief.
Grief is a pain that people both recognize and fear. They can deny it, but it sits beneath their noses where ever they go. It is all around us. You can even hear it if you listen. To acknowledge it, is to know that there is no immunity to losing someone that you love. That is a horrifying discovery.
• What do you do when you realize that you are not immune?
• Does that mean that you should spend more time with those who you love?
• Does it mean that you could give up a day out with the guys (or girls) to spend a little more time together?
• Perhaps, it means that you actually work 40-50 hours per week, instead of 60-80 hours.
• Perhaps it means that now is the time to take that family vacation.
• Maybe, it just means that you put your affairs in order – just in case.
The questions, or regrets, were floating in the air around me from people, just like myself, who thought it would never happen to them. Although the janitor was gone in a flash, I wondered was aware of the questions too.
I’m not advising you to live your in fear; no one will benefit from that. I’m just saying that there are no guarantees, so be sure that you have no regrets.