What Happens Next- Decisions with the Final Days

February 17, 2022

You are not powerless, though it seems that way right now. The latest diagnosis, test results or news is bad. The reality is that someone you love is dying and you know it, even if you don’t want to accept it or acknowledge it. 

Ready or not, the future will progress and so will the outcome the doctors have predicted.

As someone who lost my mother before it was time and a little unexpectedly, I urge you to do something with this moment. This moment is harsh but it’s one that not everyone gets, an insight into the final days and moments.

You have choices that will impact what comes next. You may not be able to change the fate of someone you love but you can change the way you prepare for it. Which means you have to prepare for it. You have to acknowledge it and ask the tough questions. You cannot leave anything on the table unsaid or unspoken. 

It may be small, but you have the ability to impact what will come next. You get to hold a lead role in what will come and what will be. Do something with it. I beg you, don’t wait and don’t resist. Instead, live like you’ve never lived before. Love like you’ve never loved before. Pray like you’ve never prayed before. And soak up each moment, each opportunity, and each additional minute with intentionality and purpose. 

Anyone who’s experienced loss will tell you to take pictures and ask questions and soak up the last moments because they are all that remains and they are fading quickly. But what I will add to that, is to say the things you’re most afraid to say. Do the things you’re most afraid to do. Have the conversations, create the experiences, and go about the final days of this relationship with bold courage, even though you are absolutely terrified of what is to come.

Ask for the stories that have never been told and tell some untold stories too. The conversations should not be one-sided. It should be shared and experienced together. 

You have been given more time, though it’s not enough and not what you wanted, so you have to use it wisely. And the only one who can tell you what ‘wisely’ looks like, is someone who sat in the seat just as you are right now. The person who has witnessed the last breaths and the last heartbeat, someone like me.

I’m not an expert. I’m simply a woman who lives with the regret and the pain of significant loss. I’m simply a woman who lost someone too soon and have things I wish I would’ve asked and said and done. I don’t want you to live with remorse like I do. I want you to learn from my mistakes and “I wish I would have’s”. 

I want to help you so your heart eventually says “I did all I could. I said all I could. I loved beautifully until the very last second. I wish we had more time but I have no regrets.”

You can be an influence and a guiding light into what the end will look like. You can play a part in what happens next, but that means strapping on bravery like a shield and courage like battle armor. It means being willing to let go of what could’ve been and what you always wanted and instead walking into the reality that this is the end and you are going to make it the best finale that you could ever create. 

This is the end. After this there is no more writing additional chapters and no more painting a life that includes the person that is slipping away. This is the end and you know it, so do something with it. Make it beautiful amidst all the pain and destruction that is surrounding you. Make it meaningful even though you sit there silent and afraid. Make it unforgettable and wrap it with the love that your life has been wrapped with each and every day. 

You have influence and power in what happens next. Use it.

xox, Chels

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One response to “What Happens Next- Decisions with the Final Days”

  1. Crystal says:

    I’m currently going through this right now. My mom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer just 6 months ago, and last Saturday she was sent home with hospice. It finally hit me that I was picking my mom up from the hospital and taking her home to die. I’m not sure what to say or do, I feel so helpless and angry:

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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