In our culture, talking about death is unusual, yet it is part of everyone’s life. There are other subjects that are taboo, such as: religion, politics and sex. I shall leave those alone today, but would like to write a little about death.
Visiting a dying friend yesterday made me ponder on differences. J.is dying of cancer and has come to the stage where he is wanting to die. His wife is distraught and wants him to fight it. J. wants to die at home. Z. wants him to go back to hospital where he’ll get further physiotherapy. All he wants is to give up and die at home. I can see how exhausting it is for Z. but am sad that she can’t accept that J.’s time has come.
This weekend the children will return home for a family conference. Z. wants them to encourage J. to return to hospital. There are services that can be organized to help Z. at home, but they are expensive. They are financially comfortable and this would be possible.
If I put myself in her shoes, would it be selfish to expect my partner to prolong his agony? One can’t step in another’s shoes. I just hope that I have the courage to face such a situation, if it were to happen, more selflessly, and vice versa.
Watching my mother die, I remember how tiring it was. I think it was the uncertainty of not knowing how long it would take, that I found most difficult. I loved her dearly, but didn’t want to see her suffer. I left the room when she talked to the doctor. I respected her decision to take control of how she ended her life, and she had a doctor who respected her wishes. I just wish Z. could find the courage to accept J.’s wishes too, and not fight to the bitter end.
I’m sure there are many of you who have had to deal with death in your own families. Never an easy thing. I’d be glad to hear from you with your beliefs, experiences, if you want to share.