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She’s My Mother

When questions arise regarding the treatment plan of a patient, the answers seem quite clear to me. Yet when my siblings and I are trying to determine the best course for the care of our own mother, the solution isn’t quite so evident.

After almost 40 years in the same community, my 83-year-old mother decided it was time for her to move closer to my brother and sister. My siblings took time off to help her get packed and to move her across the country. The transition was extremely difficult, and rather than move directly into the waiting apartment, my mother decided to stay with my sister until she was strong enough to be on her own.

Five months later, with her belongings situated in her new apartment, she is still living with my sister. Her strength has diminished, her mental focus has faltered and her usual optimism and faith have changed to fear and doubt. The next step in the process is not certain.

When families face decisions about the care of a loved one, we assume that, because we have given them the necessary clinical information, the solution should be clear. We sometimes forget we are dealing with people — people who are family, people with personality and history, doubts and fears, guilt and pain. Natalie Hyrchuk is not simply an aging parent coming to the end of her life. She’s my mother.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

April 12, 2007