Our parents are all gone to be in Heaven now, enjoying a wonderful reunion with their spouses. This is a very comforting thought. It's also very comforting that we were able to be with all four in their last moments here on earth. All four were surrounded by their loved ones. So many people don't get to share those moments with their loved ones, so I feel very fortunate to have shared that important time with them.
Don't get me wrong, though. Even in the best of situations, watching a loved one take their last breath is not easy. I really don't know how people who don't have confidence in life after death can deal with it. All our family members have strong Christian beliefs, and we know we will be reunited with them in the future, through the grace of Jesus's death and resurrection. With Easter so close, and Daddy's death so recent, I'm reminded of this gift of grace many times every day.
I realize there are plenty of loving family members who have not been able to keep their loves ones at home, as we were able to do with three of our parents. I don't want to sound like I consider us "better" than those who decide the best decision for their parent's well being is to move them to a Nursing Home or Assisted Living facility. I'm just grateful that we could help them age in place.
In times past, it wasn't nearly as unusual for several generations to live in the same home. Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles typically were included as part of the nuclear family, providing ready help, advice, and extra loving relationships for the children. They didn't just move in when their own health was ruined, but lived together as strong members of the family unit for many years. I wonder if we will ever see a return to that sort of extended family dynamic in large numbers.
I had to travel all the way to Chicago to see my grandparents, but they were still a strong influence on me as a child. Did you, or do you, live in an extended family?