The Flickering Light – Introduction

Posted on January 28, 2016 by Tanya

Death is nothing anyone wants to talk about, but it is something we all face. Whether it is with a loved one or someone famous who dies tragically, death is simply a part of life. Too many of us are afraid of it. Facing it does not diminish the difficulties of accepting it, but it does alleviate some of the unknowns.

As a friend once said, “I do not say he ‘passed’. He ‘died’. Because that is what happens to us.” Depending on your culture and your belief system (or lack of one), you may see death as simply a transition, or you may see it with finality. Either way, it is what it is.

This book is about how we can learn to accept the concept of death with grace and humility and even with a bit of humor. The concept of death is something we can intellectually accept, though few of us can emotionally or mentally process. Certainly it is typically not anything most of us contemplate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For others, it is a constant. It is a reminder every day that this one could be our (or our loved one’s last). Perhaps we (or they) have an illness or participate in a dangerous sport or job. Regardless, the end result is the same.

Death happens to us all. And it is truly one of the very few things we must do on our own; at least part of it. Some of the process can be shared. When someone dies, those around them are often at a different place. Not everyone will be in obvious stages of grief. This is also true for those who slowly die in front of us. For those who care for and live with the dying, they are processing death constantly. For those who visit or periodically see the dying, they are processing death a bit at a time. Either way, those left behind are dealing with death on their own terms and in their own way and in their own time.

 

The Flickering Light

Posted on January 19, 2016 by Tanya

White candles burning with a textured vintage background

For 19 years my father-in-law fought a valiant battle with cancer. Often the treatments were worse than the illness and they gradually took away his ability to walk independently. As a retired postal worker, he had a route walking many miles every day. It was just wrong. But, he dealt with it in his way and on his terms.

Throughout all these years, my mother-in-law cared for him every day and never with anger, frustration, resentment or sadness. She was grace under incredible pressure. Together, we watched the light flicker from him. Over time, it became less bright, less intense, and less energetic. It was simply to be.

“The Flickering Light” is my tribute to him and my mother-in-law. The strength they both exhibited for two decades in the face of a very slow illness and as he continued to defy all prognoses, is a testament to their love and their commitment. May we all learn from them and may your reading about our story encourage you to be prepared. We were allowed to enjoy him and grieve our loss as it happened because we knew he was living and dying as he wanted, on his terms. That gave us all great peace and set an example for my sons as they never knew their grandad any way other than sick. And they have never known my mother-in-law in any way other than resolute and dedicated.