Today was a very difficult day psychologically.
Today the realities of my health situation were shared with my 87-year-old mother.
My eldest sister and her husband thought it would be easier to deal with all around (but particularly from my perspective) if they went out to my mom's house and delivered the news face to face. This way, my mother's reaction could be guaged and the flow of details could be adjusted accordingly and conversational detours made.
I would then call her on the phone (we live about 50 miles apart). I had already made arrangements today to visit her Wednesday.
My prognosis was shared in a way that didn't mention death outright, but she is under no illusion that the outlook is anything but discouraging. Things were put in such a way that rays of hope were allowed to shine through. Thank God for rays of hope.
My sisters and my brother and I all were worried about how she would handle the news, about how she would bear up under the stress of hearing the worst news a mother can receive. But, not surprisingly to us, her example instead has revealed our own weaknesses, not least of which is underestimating her exceptional ability to handle crises with grace, compassion, love and calm. You would think we would know better by now.
And besides, she already had a very good idea of what was going on. Underestimating her maternal instincts was just another well-intentioned foible.
So, now, I have precious few secrets left.