Once I realized that I had visitors coming from the other side, I immediately thought: perhaps I am not going to make it. I adored my children but was not worried for them. I instinctively knew that my husband would be fine without me and would look after them well.
I also felt immensely grateful that I had been able to spend so much time with my children during their formative years, that I had chosen to work only part-time so as to be with them more, that I had gone to every band rehearsal and soccer game. That as a community volunteer I had so many wonderful memories to treasure such as the day when I brought my son’s school string group to perform at my father’s nursing home (it brought tears to his blind eyes). So I had no regrets at all.
I looked at this moment like the ending of a story – the story that was my life – with the thought “so this is how it ends”. And I loved the irony of it all, that all my life I had obsessed over health foods and vitamin supplements, and life-affirming rituals like meditation, yet none of that had given me the protection I so desired.
I did not see a tunnel of light. But I was totally aware of this wave of unconditional love and with it an amazing sense of joy. I remember thinking – it’s too simple, but now I get it. Love is the glue of the Universe. Why didn’t I see this before? And I was so incredibly happy to have this knowledge. I thought if I got through all this I would shout it out – it’s love, love, love. That’s all there is.
I also felt strongly that I had brought this drama all on myself. For the previous eight years I had been managing the needs of two elderly parents who were in serious decline, and also the needs of two young, very active sons. Plus trying to fit in work, my partner, friends and the rest. I had become a classic example of the sandwich generation – caring for elders, caring for children and having no time for myself. So there should be no surprise that this all came crashing to an end.