When my mother was diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disease, she faced it head-on. She did research, enrolled in a genetic study and started working out with a trainer to combat the effects of the disease. It slowed her down, but it didn’t stop her. She even took a group of her grandsons to Disney World.
When her doctor told her to be prepared to end up in a wheelchair, she worked even harder with her trainer. She and my dad took a river cruise to celebrate their 50th anniversary. She tripped and fell many times, often when she was trying to help someone else. But she got right back up and kept going.
She never did need that wheelchair because she was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given four months to say goodbye to all the people she loved and who loved her. Friends and family came from near and far to visit, and we all loved her up while we could. When asked if she was afraid to die, she said the amount of love she felt and the amount of gratitude she had for the life she had led stifled any fear she had.
She also had a little rock with a heart shellacked on it, which she called her “gratitude rock.” She picked it up in the morning and gave thanks for another day, and did the same at night, counting her blessings. Over the course of my life, my mom taught me many lessons, but learning how to die with dignity was the very last one, and one that will stay with me for the remainder of MY life.
The Final Lesson My Mother Taught Me
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast