I have always known how important it is for us to deal with personal issues before the person we have an issue with is no longer around. Working through my father’s illness taught me that.
A few years after my mum passed, my father was told he had lymphoma. Because my spiritual beliefs were so strong I knew he would be okay, but I did struggle with the stress of having to work around his illness. My father would never admit, but I know he knows he wasn’t the easiest of patients, the pressure was already on, for us to take care of him.
I have never coped around illness, and now I know it has everything to do with my sensory issues. My being around someone with a terminal illness can create a visual stimulation that causes fear in me that’s often hard to deal with.
I was more distraught when my mum was terminally ill, than I was with my father’s illness. I struggled to grasp the fact that she may not survive and I would have to see her deteriorate in front of my very eyes. I was also younger and my relationship with her was different.
It is only when a loved one is faced with a terminal illness that we realise how many unresolved issues we have and coping with the illness is made more difficult, if we haven’t dealt with our issues. But unless we say something, it’s too late once they’re gone. It is important we speak our truth, to leave unresolved issues because we’re afraid to say what those are, means we will continue to live with those issues long after our loved ones have gone.
If you have a close-knit family and have very few issues to address, it’s perhaps easier. It’s not something we’re always lucky to have, particularly if you grew up in a household where you weren’t encouraged to talk about things and show others how you feel.
Dealing with family members who don’t talk can be difficult, even harder trying to talk about an issue with a family member who has a terminal illness, particularly if they’re not interested and don’t want to talk, or bring closure.
If someone doesn’t want to talk about their issues before their terminal illness diagnosis, the odds are them being ill won’t make a difference. When our parents don’t talk about things, it can make it easier for us to understand how important it is for us to talk.
Thankfully, although I didn’t manage to go into any great detail, I did manage to address my non-diagnosis. Now I won’t look back and feel remorseful that I didn’t say anything.