Whether it is due to a long illness or a sudden circumstance, dealing with the loss of a parent is anything but easy. In the wake of her mother Litsa’s passing last year, Maria opened up about her journey as a caregiver, the grief, and self-growth that happened after. She’s shared some much needed advice and wisdom along the way.
1) Give yourself a break.
Maria shares that when taking care of her mother, she lacked feeling compassion for herself and taking breaks to recharge. She compared it to feeling like a gas tank running on empty, only being recharged with 5 dollars worth of gas each time. As a caregiver, Maria tirelessly strived to make sure her mother was comfortable while maintaining her work schedule. She shares the importance of taking mental health breaks to help clear her mind. Not only would this help her own mind and spirit, but it uplifts those around her.
2) Accept God’s Plan.
Especially when a loved one has a long and ongoing illness, it can be difficult to surrender to the situation. As a caregiver, it is natural to keep pushing for a miracle, doing absolutely everything that you can. However, Maria shares she had to learn to accept what lay ahead and transition from caregiver to daughter. It was important to shift her focus from attaining miracles to conversations with her mother that needed to happen in order to heal.
3) Stick to your journey.
In the process of losing a loved one, you become surrounded by many different people. Whether it is hospice workers, family, friends, or neighbors, there are always other people involved. Maria shares that while it is a blessing to have so many people around visiting, it can become exhausting. Especially if those people do not exude the right energy. It is important to know when to draw the line. Whether it is hospice workers not listening to what you and the patient’s wants and needs are, or if there are too many visitors that are not uplifting; it is important to put your foot down. Stick to your journey, remember what you value, and do not be afraid to make changes that are better for you.
4) Make it a spa.
As Maria transitioned from caretaker to daughter, she still needed purpose. And so what she did and she recommends to others is to make the room the person is transitioning in feel like a spa. A lot of us feel helpless in the end, like we can’t do anything, but we still can. We can give them the most peaceful, beautiful transition they’ve ever had with soft lights, candles, their favorite music, foot and hand massages, walks down memory lane. Maria implemented all of these in her mom’s final days and it made her feel like she was still contributing while giving her mom the most peaceful transition possible.
5) Everyone mourns differently.
Despite our differences, society always has expectations on how we are supposed to react in situations, even in death. Maria emphasizes the point that everyone grieves differently. Particularly when a loved one has an ongoing illness. People often mourn for a long time while they are alive, so when they actually do pass it is normal not to cry much. It doesn’t change the fact that you are shocked or that you miss them. Maria also shared that feeling relieved is okay. If you had feared losing your loved one, it tends to feel like a weight off of your shoulders after they have passed. Overall there is no rhyme or reason to how you feel, just go with it and accept the healing journey.