The Presence Present

The words flow like rivers from both sides of the bed. Words of unspoken feelings and emotions. Sounds that form sentences, which for whatever reason, until this very moment, were held captive. After they have been uttered , eyes will sometimes find their way to me, as if by some way, speaking those words in my presence offers absolution. I can offer many things, but, this, is not mine to give.

Pleas for forgiveness and words of regret are often whispered during the moments when one is shedding this world. Heartbreaking to hear and gut wrenching to watch, an almost helpless feeling blankets me as I wish I could give exactly what it is being asked. Sometimes, it is a parent to a child, who feels as if the road of parenthood was often littered with landmines. The parent will explain that they tried their very best despite the obstacles of life, but, sometimes felt as if they did not reach the pinnacle of parenthood. And, just as the parent held the child’s hand and guided them through life, now, it is the child’s turn to hold the parent’s weak hand, guiding them to the next life.

Beautiful moments like that are gifts that life bestows on some, but, not everyone is fortunate enough to receive. Death comes without warning. Or, maybe like a summer thunderstorm that might ruin plans, the signs are glanced over. Either way, when it occurs, those final words, the gift of unburdening, is not had. Conflict, regret, resentment and deep sadness grow from this void. “Do you think she forgives me?”, is one of the most pondered questions asked of me. Would make my soul happy to say “Yes, of course she forgives you. She loves you and knows you loved her.” But, sadly, the bitter reality is, I don’t really know that. Spending years caught in the web of uncertainty because maybe you should have said more or done more for the long passed loved one is no way to live your life. The best gift you can give them, as well as yourself, is the presence present.

Be there now. Right now. Say the words you are scared or uncomfortable to say now. Worried that you might sound like a an emotional blender? That’s ok – would you rather an emotional blender now or years of regret later? Live in THIS moment. Take stock of your feeling and Sherlock what means the most. Love someone? Tell them. Regret your behavior for whatever reason? Ask for forgiveness now. Waiting until the person is moments from meeting their version of God robs you both of years that could have been filled with memories to treasure forever. Or waiting until you are breathing your last breaths makes it near impossible to convey the profuse depth of emotions. Don’t do that.

So, as today is Christmas, give yourselves all a present. Be present. Laugh, live and love. Say what your heart is singing. Unburden your tired souls. Tomorrow may never come, so, today is your shot. Your words and presence in someone’s life truly are their most cherished present.

By Helen Haddick BSN RN CHPN

RN who has just left critical care in the hospital for hospice. Join me for my journey Please feel free to leave comments and like if you enjoy this

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