The process of dying and the ones left behind…

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The point of this might be considered moot, since the parent in question died recently, but I’m putting this up here regardless.  One never knows how it might assist another in need.

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How does one go about the business of dying, so that it’s beneficial not only for you, but the ones that you leave behind?  Is it better to try to tie up loose ends before the eventual end, or let bygones by bygones?  That’s something that we’ve been dealing with here (off and on) for the last couple of months.  Not me directly, but indirectly through my girl as she shares with me her experience with a parent that’s getting to the end of his mortal coil.

It’s doubly difficult when there’s been bad blood between the participants in the family.  When someone is getting close to the end, on occasion they wish to go off with a clean conscience, but clearing that might very well end up being less beneficial with the ones that have been wronged.

I have some personal experience with this, in that I have an adoptive brother with whom I’ve been estranged for the last 26 years.  We varied greatly in how to care for our father, my brother was more the ‘warehouse’ type of thinking, get him into a nursing home as quickly as possible, so that he could get his hands on the family fortune.  I was more interested in the ultimate care of the man, given how much he’d sacrificed for both of us, but in the end we didn’t come to terms with our varied thought processes and it created a great rift between us, one that won’t likely ever be truly fixed or buried.  Too much bad blood, really.

My girl was having this problem, because her father was dying.  They’d been estranged for many years, and when he discovered the fact that he wasn’t going to be around much longer, he wanted to make amends and reconnect with her.  She wasn’t very interested in ‘letting bygones be bygones’ and asked me what she should do.  I explained to her that if her feelings on the issue were the same as they had been at the time of the rift, then it wouldn’t really do her much good to recontact him and tell him everything was forgiven when it really wasn’t.  Sure, it might make him feel better, but what was it ultimately going to do to her in the long run?

In the end it was basically decided for her, since her father started to go downhill fairly quickly and ended up passing away about 10 days ago.  I think it’s better off for her in the long run that she didn’t harm herself in giving him something she truly didn’t believe he deserved, just for the sake of assuaging his conscience.  Whatever he thought of her went with him, she will move on as we all do after someone dies.  Stages of grief, relying on those that care about you, and ones that she wishes to share with.

Living is hard enough, without the circumstances of death making it even more difficult.