A Patient Advocate's View

Letting Go of Perfection

Earlier, at about 3AM I was awakened by a call from a nursing home that one of my clients had passed. It wasn’t unexpected because she had been suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s for several years and had been praying to be released from this terrible disease. Her family, friends and I were happy that she could spend several years at Atria Kew Gardens where she enjoyed continuing her lifelong passion of eating healthy, working out with her personal trainer, Val and walking to Church on Sundays. In her final months she found comfort in living with the sisters at Ozanamhall.

This isn’t my first call to Schwartz Brothers where I make pre-planned funeral arrangements for all my clients, including my husband who passed at this same time of year. Actually I have been making these kind of calls for the past ten years. Most times I am the only person at the funeral, besides a few friends and their home health aide. My practice focuses on elderly people who don’t have anyone to help them or they only have people who are just not available because they live far away or are elderly themselves, our elder orphans. It’s always comforting to know that their wishes will be carried out.

Regardless of how well you plan and how much you know that the person welcomed their release, it is still a time of grief and all that goes with it. I have been working with a Widow Coach to understand my own grief process for the past year. The most helpful thing I learned was that we can’t change what is, but we can change how we think about it. So, keeping in mind the 90 second rule, I let myself dwell on the fact that I hadn’t changed the beneficiary on her life insurance which was needed for her Medicaid application and that I hadn’t gotten to bring her the framed poster I planned to give her for Christmas, with a personalized message from the Pope.

Since I was now wide awake, I started my day as usual checking emails and Facebook Groups. Usually I am pretty stoic, but one of the posts was a copy of a Eulogy from a son about his father. It was written in such a loving. funny way, even though the topic of discussion was someone known to be loud, abrasive and aloof. It really touched me that even though this person was far from perfect, he left only the good memories and any hard feelings were buried with him. Reading now through tears, I opened a daily email I get called the Daily Om. It’s a short daily inspirational message. It’s one of the few things I do in a day that has nothing to do with seniors or patients. The title for today is Letting Go of Perfection. It was a reminder that being imperfect is human and that trying to be perfect only leads to frustration and unhappiness.

This is a time of year for celebration and joy, but if this year of Covid, Lock Downs and Economic Uncertainty have taught us anything, it is that nothing will be perfect. We can only hope for the best and do what we can under the circumstances. I wish the gift of forgiveness for yourself to all my friends, colleagues and clients. I send you forgiving thoughts for any one or anything you are holding in your head or heart. I promise to embrace all the imperfection I see in the world in a loving way.

If you ever feel down or upset about being less than perfect, give me a call, because I need all the imperfections I can find to help me to learn and grow. I hope you forgive me if I have done anything less than perfectly. I will try to do what I can to make it less imperfect.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment