February 27, 2015

When a parent dies- Fragile x Guardian

I didn't know if she had months or years left on this earth but her health was declining. I had heard it happens frequently after couples who have been together for decades are tragically separated by death.  Her beloved husband of some sixty years had died the previous year. It was decided now was the right time for her to transfer guardianship; a sad but necessary reality for aging parents with disabled children.

She looked into my eyes and said “I know you're going to take care of my baby girl.” After thirty plus years of friendship it was as simple as that. I nodded my head, making my promise to do just that. The details would be ironed out later. 

And so my guardianship began and my relationship with her daughter took on a new dimension. ( I will save my explanation of the actual guardian process, education requirements, attorney involvement, court involvement, background checks, and the paperwork required for another time and post) but i will say now that took roughly four months for the entire process to be completed.

And sadly one of my first tasks as guardian along with (her caretakers) was to began a coordinated effort to prepare her and see her thru the decline leading up to her mothers death. 

Coping with her mothers declining health was frightening for her at times. We needed to be sensitive to her emotional needs and respect her decisions and never force her to visit her mother if she wasn't feeling up to it. She did well however and visited quite regularly though for the next year.

Then the call came; mom had died. I quickly made arrangements for a flight out and coordinated with the house manager on how we would approach telling her that her mom had passed. 

The three of us sat together in close a circle in the office of the group home and I told her that her mother had gone to heaven. She looked down at the floor, my heart was breaking for her. I thought about the sadness we feel when someone we love dies, the anger, the tears and how missing them sometimes makes our insides hurt. Truthfully I was feeling a bit of all of those emotions myself having lost my dear friend. So I told her she may feel those thing herself and it was perfectly ok if she did.

The holding my breath I asked her “would you like to tell me how you feel?” She looked up and me and said as clear as a bell, “happy.” I was stunned! “Can you tell me why you're happy?” She has very limited verbal skills she usually can put three words together in a sentence but rarely more.  Then in a clear voice filled with conviction she said “ mommy and daddy are together, I'm happy

What a beautiful thing!


18 comments:

  1. Oh, that was so sweet that she was able to "figure" it out that her mom and dad were together again.I am sorry for the loss of your friend and the one you guardian, the loss of her mother.

    betty

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  2. How very fortunate you are to have each other. Your compassion and love for your friend and her daughter is so touching and admirable.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  3. A lovely sentiment which helped you cope with the loss of your special friend as well.

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  4. How very sweet! It made me cry but it is a good cry! I'm glad she has you

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  5. Awwwww, that was a beautiful way to look at it.

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  6. Simply beautiful. Perhaps that’s the way to look at this life of ours. Uncomplicated quite simply. forgetting about the what if’s and the why’s and just accepting “that’s just the way it is".

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  7. Awww....heart touching moment. Beautifully written blog post. God bless you. Take good care of her...I know you will.

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  8. A perfect uncluttered response. We can tend to complicate things at the best of times. We have much to learn and they have a lot to offer us.
    This is a lovely post, Jen, thanks for sharing.

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  9. “happy.”

    Ooooo, how fabulously beautiful. xx

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  10. Oh, my goodness, Jen, this gave me chills. What better response can there be in such a situation? And so glad to hear you stepped in when needed the most.

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  11. Hi Jen - wonderful story - amazing how a human can adapt and knows just what is required .. despite their apparent challenges ... so brilliant - and those few words will stay with her forever ... Excellent for you to have experienced too .. cheers Hilary

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  12. It too me a while to get to this post to read it, but I'm glad I did. This is a beautiful story, Jen, though sad at the same time. Thank you for sharing this.

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  13. Oh Jen that brought tears to my eyes. She really did understand. You are such a lovely person for honouring your friend's wishes.

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  14. Awww...tears! Wow! Her vocabulary may be limited, but her heart understands. Beautiful <3

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  15. Wow...so touching. You're such a good person, Jen. Hope things are going okay. You must be busy. Take care!

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