Most people say “When my time comes, I don’t want to be hooked up to machines! Pull the plug, just let me die!” Oh, but it is not that easy when you, as the family member, have to make the decision for your loved one. In my case, my father.
To treat or not to treat? It is a gut-wrenching, sleep-depriving, desperation grasping, doubt-filled, guilt-ridden nightmare. It’s the Serenity Prayer incarnate.
Sometimes, death doesn’t stare you in the face and take charge. Sometimes death dares you to dig deep down beyond your own existence, beyond everything you thought you knew. Sometimes death calls bullshit on your spiritual capacity to allow, surrender, and trust. Sometimes death turns you into a terrified child lost at the department store, worried she will never-ever go home again or see her parent’s face, or feel their embrace. Sometimes, death just sits back, and watches you writhe, like an earthworm in the dry daylight, as you wrestle with your humanness.
And then there is the one who breathes an inconsistent breath, whose fate is in your hands. And all you can offer is the the most tender mercy that arises from a place beyond the psyche and without words.