The answer is that you can’t emotionally & psychologically prepare for your parents death.
When my dad was in intensive care, there were times I still held out false hope that by some miracle he would pull through, and I’d hear his voice again. If I was honest with myself, I knew in my heart that was his time, but I loved him so much, the thought of never seeing him again was too painful to bear. I choose to be ignorant to the reality of his condition.
Even when my mum called me, those words ‘the Dr’s said they can’t do anymore for your dad, it’s his time’ felt unreal. Once the gravity of the situation sunk in, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. I couldn’t stop crying, I had to hold it together whilst making the 3 hour train journey to the hospital, I can tell you that felt like the longest hours of my life.
I associated travelling home with joyful thoughts of seeing my family, how could I reconcile that I was having to say goodbye forever? In my mind, I was thinking, ‘please train, don’t stop, I’m not ready yet’ (the reality: no one is ever prepared for this, right?). My brother was waiting for me at the station, there were no words, I just needed a big hug.
The moment I entered my dad’s room, hands trembling with fear, I took whatever emotional strength I had left, held back the tears, and told him that I loved him very much. I’m not sure if he ever heard what I said, all that mattered was that I was there by his side, tightly holding his hand when the Dr switched off his life support, and he drew a few last breaths.
It’s two years now, I’ve gone through the worst of the grieving process. The idiom time’s a great healer is true. I still feel sad, but I’ve learn’t that death is just an inevitable part of life, we cannot seek to control it, however hard it is to accept, we just have to hope that we can be there with them at the end, and make the most of our time with our parents when they’re still alive…