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An Abundant Heart: Caretaking for a Dying Loved One

“You have to learn to cherish the moments that annoy the crap out of you … because you don’t get those moments with them again.” —Debra L. Lambert (HEART GUIDE, in memory of her father).

“I had this fantasy that we would have this heart to heart moment when my dad was dying, and I really wanted that moment. When we had the hospice conversation, I realized I was never going to get that.” —Thomas Robertson (HEART GUIDE, in memory of his father).

Caring for someone who is dying can be extremely challenging. Death is often as messy and as complicated as living. We face daily setbacks. We make difficult choices. We may feel tired and discouraged. We may feel hopeful. We may feel angry. We may feel sad. We may feel a jumbled mix of emotions that don’t neatly fit into any one category.

Each day, we do the best we can with what we are given. Joseph Mooradian, who shares his story of caretaking for his mother in HEART GUIDE, says, “During her cancer, I would spend the night with her anytime she was in the hospital. In a way, I felt like that time was a gift because I did have 18 months with her. It didn’t matter whether we talked about anything heavy or deep, or nothing in particular, or if we sat there watching TV together. Just spending time with her and helping her through that ordeal was meaningful.”

Thomas Robertson notes in HEART GUIDE that he made peace with his father after his father’s passing. He explains, “I went to the chapel. I had a conversation with my dad. I told him that I knew we pushed each other’s buttons over the years, but I missed him and loved him and hoped he realized I did the best I could, even if it wasn’t perfect. I found it helpful to have that as our ending.”

So much of life and death remains a mystery. We know our time here is limited. We know our loved ones will not live forever. Yet, we forget how to tenderly care for the heart. We forget how to fully live each moment. We forget to say thank you for the gifts of precious time shared on this planet with someone we dearly love.

When we get in touch with our heart, we remember.

We might connect with our heart while gazing up at the vast, starlit night sky; while sitting by the fire singing campfire songs; while taking long, solitary walks in nature; or while noticing a soft, gentle breeze against our arms. In such moments, we remember: Our deepest love is never lessened by anything that happens here on earth.

Peace to your day.


In joy & gratitude, 

Diana Ensign

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