Item description for After Goodbye: A Daughter's Story Of Grief And Promise by Lynette Friesen...
Overview Lynette Friesen shares her spiritual journey, with its struggles and challenges, through the last years of her mother's life. Chapter by chapter she provides detailed accounts of various aspects of her mother's diminishment. Her open, familiar, and insightful telling permits the reader to participate through the recognition of shared experience. In revealing the depths of her own spiritual struggle, Friesen invites others to reflect on theirs and provides questions after each chapter to help facilitate the process. After Goodbye offers a window to self-reflection, encouraging readers to explore and share their own stories of caregiving and grieving.
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One Family's Story with Reflections for All Apr 25, 2005
Lynette Friesen, SSND, tells the story of the 14 years she was primary caregiver for her mother, who died at the age of 92. As the author reminds readers, no two stories of illness, loss, and grief are the same, but all have similar elements. To help bring out those common elements, Friesen ends each chapter with reflections and questions she faced. These sections provide a framework for readers to examine their own situations and relationships.
The circumstances for the Friesen family were "caregiver friendly." Lynette lived and worked close enough to her mother's home to manage weekend visits over a sustained period. In addition, Lynette had a sister and brother-in-law nearby who could fill in. In Hilda's final four years, the family convinced her to move into the same apartment building Lynette lived in. Family members helped with the sale of the house and the move. Apparently Hilda died of what might be called "old age" rather than a particular debilitating disease requiring intense treatment and prolonged hospitalization, though she was taking heart medication, and a CAT scan showed she had suffered several small strokes.
Eventually Hilda became extremely frail and suffered dizzy spells, confusion, and memory loss, which necessitated first, in-home care, for which private health aides were hired, then nursing home care for her final four months. The family seems not to have had financial worries and was able to find aides who were, in all but one case, reliable, trustworthy, skilled, and kind. Nonetheless, stress, exhaustion, and an array of painful emotions were ever present.
The spirit of the family, their closeness and faith, stood them in good stead as they prepared to say goodbye to their mother. The activities and rituals they incorporated into Hilda's 90th birthday celebration and her funeral are inspiring, and contain enough detail that others could adapt them to their own situations.