When Brendan (Vic’s gastroenterologist) took me into the passage, outside Vic’s hospital room, and said “No more. This is the end of the road” my heart stopped. How can there be no hope? Brendan has been so brave until that moment. It was not easy for him to sentence Vic to the “No Hope” section of her journey.
Where does hope live when we hear the words announced to us, “There is no hope”? We cannot return to life as it was.
Immanuel Kant, who lived and wrote in the 1700s, thought a lot about the kind of subjects we might label as “the eternal verities”: hope, ethics, God, morality, the meaning of life. Kant came up with three questions that he thought expressed the central human concerns. Here are his famous questions:
What can I know?
What can I do?
What can I hope?
What can I know?
“A large part of Kant’s work addresses the question “What can we know?” The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the super sensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind’s access only to the empirical realm of space and time.” http://www.iep.utm.edu/kantmeta/
I know I can only address this on an emotional level.
I know that life is unfair and difficult! I know we are scared – not only of Vic’s painful journey but of what lies beyond her release from pain. I know I hate seeing my child suffer and losing her dignity.
I know I love my child more than life. I know she wants to live. I know she wants to love, be loved….. I know she wants the frustration of facing peak hour traffic on her way to work or back. I know Vic wants a job. I know Vic wants financial independence, a trip to Italy. I know Vic wants to attend her sons 21st Birthday parties, see them graduate, and meet the person they decide to spend their lives with. Hold her grandchild..…grow old gracefully. I know Vic wants to walk on the beach, see the sun set over the sea…..
I know that Vic is tired of the pain. I know she wants to die. I know she wants to live.
I know dying is a lonely journey. I know it is impossibly difficult to watch Vic grow weaker every day. I know I am tired of being sad. I know I want the boys to be happy…..
What should I do?
I know I should honor Vic’s wishes. I know that I should try and stay positive for the boys sake. I should fight harder for Hospice intervention. I should remain cheerful and snap out of my depression. I should concentrate on the positive moments in our lives. I should endeavor to find a way of giving Vic peace – enough peace to let go.
What can I hope?
I wish her pain control will continue to work as well as it is now… I hope that her suffering will come to an end. I hope that the boys will heal in time. I hope that we will laugh again. I hope that Vic will find peace.
I hope that my beautiful little girl will fall asleep and not wake up. I hope that God will be with her when the time comes
7 thoughts on “What can we hope for when there is no hope?”
I would like to say: ‘ Let go and let God… but I have never stood next to my child’s bed while she is losing her earthly battle, and I do know for sure that God will be there with her every step of the way. I can only pray that you will know His presence and comfort while you go through this with your child and grandchildren and be aware that we are all praying for you.
Thank you Renee!
Yes you are in our prayers as well. My mom is ill, and has a progressive neurological disease called PSP. It has been extremely depressing to me, she is angry & often lashes out at me due to her frustration (losing ability to speak & having trouble swallowing). My beautiful, vibrant mother, always so full of life, wise. It is so hard to watch the progress of this terrible disease. My mom is only 77, but it would be worse to watch your daughter deteriorate. I pray too, that when Vic’s time comes, she will drift off to sleep. I pray my mom will have a sudden heart attack or massive stroke. I don’t want to watch her starve to death. I told her since the Holy Spirit lives in us, I like to envision Him inside, wrapping our souls up in His arms, and when it’s our time, He doesn’t let go, but steps with us, carrying us along, to the other side. When my beloved grandmother died, I imagined how her own mother, who died when grandma was 9 yrs old, was waiting at Heaven’s gate, saying ‘come on Ella, not much longer, just a few more breaths to go…’ and what a celebration & reception she received when she arrived! She is truly living now- working for the Lord Jesus and waiting on us! My brother has to remind me, ‘keep your eyes on the Prize’. I think when we get there, we will say, why in the world did we fight to live on Earth? But it is hard to imagine somewhere we haven’t experienced yet. God will work all things together for your good, your daughter’s and grandsons’ good. They all sound so precious. How blessed your family is to have you. Cyber hugs, Janice
Thank you Janice. It is so sweet of you to take time to write!! My Dad died of Alzheimer’s 15 months ago. It is so stressful when a parent becomes the child. Are you your Mom’s primary caregiver?
Yes, I’m her primary caregiver. I’m sorry I missed your comment. It is stressful, but she’s in a nursing home. I’m so sorry about your dad. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to not know what’s coming, did your dad realize his mind was going? Bless your heart. You are carrying a load.
Janice, most of the time Dad did not know but there were moments of absolute clarity when he did. I remember one morning I walked into his room and his eyes were all misted over. He just said “I am so scared”. Fortunately most of the time he was oblivious to the deterioration. Cyber hugs to you!
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