Tag: terminal illness
Vic succeeded at life…
Vic often said “I must be such a disappointment to you. I have done nothing with my life!”
This morning I read these beautiful words and so wished I could have shared it with Vic.
“This is to have succeeded” posted on June 4, 2013 by Dr Bill http://drbillwooten.com/2013/06/04/this-is-to-have-succeeded
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
To laugh often and love much – That Vic did. She always had a smile on her precious face. Even when she was in dreadful pain she would try to smile. When she was in a lot of pain her laugh was shrill. Pain seldom stopped her from laughing… In 2007 I said to Vic that my life was sad.
“That is terrible Mommy. Why?”
I felt like hitting my head against a wall! What did the child think? In 2007 Vic must have had 18 operations; developed every hospital superbug in the book; developed septicaemia, had a high output fistula; developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; spend months in ICU and survived having the ventilator turned off… Vic was op TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) for months…she had a massive open wound that we could not keep covered with a colostomy bag. It was too big and positioned very low down.
“I worry about you every second of the day baby. I worry whether you have vomited and how much you vomited; I worry whether you have been able to eat anything… I worry about your wound. I worry about your pain control….”
“Mommy, that is so sad. At least once a week the boys and I laugh so much that my tummy hurts from it…”
Vic in 2007
Vic loved unconditionally and with every fibre of her body. She gave everything! She was a wonderful daughter, mother, friend…She loved her family, her siblings, her friends and her boys. She LIVED love.
Her last words ever were “I love you Mommy”
… to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; Worldwide, intelligent people, respected and admired Vic for her courage, tenacity… We called Vic the “baby whisperer”. Children loved her. She loved children. Her only ambition as a toddler and teenager was to be a Mommy. She loved her sons beyond comprehension…
The Baby Whisperer
…… to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; Vic suffered a lot of betrayal in her little life. People got tired of waiting for her to die. “Friends” spoke about her “addiction” to pain medication behind her back… They used her illness as a weapon against her when she was at her most vulnerable. False friends (and loved ones) spoke their “minds” and condemned and judged Vic for choices she made… Because she was ill people thought they could say what they wanted, when they wanted.
….. to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; My precious child was so naïve. She refused to see the bad in people! The only time she got irritated and miserable was in hospital. She always found the good in people. She did not speak badly of people. When I was angry with someone she would placate me…point out their good points… She knew that if she voiced her own anger it would have driven me over the edge. Vic taught me unconditional love, forgiveness and tolerance. Vic brought out the best in me and the most other people.
…..to give of one’s self; Vic was a people pleaser. She would turn down MY bed!!!! She made sacrifices for each and every person in her life. Even in death she worried about other dying people who were less privileged than she was. I promised her at 2 am on the 16th of November 2012, a mere 2 months and 2 days before she died, that I would start Stepping Stone Hospice! She kept talking to me about Stepping Stone until she lapsed into a coma. We started on the 1st of January 2013 and Vic died on the 18th of January. Our first patient. Our first death.
…..to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; Vic left the world a better place. Her sons are monuments of the person she was; her dream of a Hospice has been realized.
……to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; With the 2010 Soccer World Cup Vic went crazy with enthusiasm; she bought every gimmick that hit the shops; she went of the “soccer train” in her wheelchair, she watched every single soccer game.
Vic loving World Cup 2010
……to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived Vic’s legacy will live on through her sons and Stepping Stone Hospice. Long after I have died, people will continue to benefit from Vic’s dreams and goodness.
—this is to have succeeded.” My angel child – you succeeded! You succeeded in life and with living. You made the world a beautiful place filled with goodness and hope. I am so proud of you. You lived life to the full. You made a difference! You lived a greater and more successful life than most people. You have put the world to shame. You are my hero!
It is a mere 850 days since Vic died. 2 years and 4 months seems so short… 850 days seems far more representative of the longing. It seems “longer”….
I woke up this morning with tears pouring down my cheeks. I so longed to hold my child. I know that the boys remembered too. Jon-Daniel posted on his Facebook “Appreciate your Mom, tell her you love her, make her smile – because the only time she ever smiled while you were crying was when you were born!” The first to “like” his post was his brother.
I imagined that the longing would get better. It doesn’t!
At first it felt as if I was overseas – away from the trauma of Vic being ill. I always felt guilty at the “reprieves” I had when I was travelling for work. Now I would give anything and everything for just an extra minute with my child.
It was hard standing next to Vic’s bed hearing her cries of pain. It was even harder seeing the despair in the eyes of her precious boys when they stood next to their mom’s bed helpless to ease her pain and fears.
So often over the years I wanted to run away. In the end, when Vic cried from fear of dying, I felt the need to put an end to her suffering well up in me. I put my hands over my ears and screamed in my head.
How do you answer your child when she cries “I am so scared”?
We have a patient at Hospice who vocalises her fear the way Vic did. Today I just held her. How do you still the fear of the unknown in a dying person? And NO!!!! It has nothing to do with religion. Everybody is scared.
From that dreaded moment when a patient is told they are terminally ill an avalanche of shock and fear hits them. It is called actually “named” – terminal fear. Vic (and Elizabeth*) fear dying, pain, saying goodbye, loss of control and mostly all-encompassing the fear of the unknown.
Vic’s overwhelming fear was that people would forget her – that she would be replaced…. Vic questioned her life’s worth. She did not work and in her mind that meant it that she had not achieved anything. That she would leave no legacy. No matter how many times we reassured her that she inspired hundreds of people worldwide, the fear never left. I hope that she now knows how powerful her legacy is! That hundreds of patients have benefitted from her death wish and, most importantly, that her sons are her true legacy.
I have witnessed that grieving starts the moment of handing down the sentence. It is a long and hard journey for the dying person, their loved ones and friends.
And, today that Elizabeth’s* fear rests heavy on my heart, I know that we will provide her a safe haven where she can relax into death. We will hold her hand and guide her family through this dreadful trauma of saying goodbye to a wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
I pray for wisdom and strength to handle the déjà vu of Elizabeth’s* final journey.
Rest in Peace Angel Child
Yesterday the sun set on our tears and longing. This morning I lay awake watching the sun send it first rays through the silhouette of the oak tree in our garden.
“Rays of hope” I thought.
I lay there, my eyes still heavy with tears and sleep thinking how grateful I am that my child’s suffering is over…
Yesterday was a day filled with selfish sadness. All I could think of was how much I miss Vic; how empty my life is; how much pain we are in… For one day I “forgot” her terrible suffering. Her tears of pain and frustration. This morning I thought back to Vic vomiting pure, bright red blood, crying “Mommy I broke another vertebrae”.
This morning I remembered that Vic had absolutely no quality of life. I remembered my fear that her suffering would never end… I remembered my prayers, pleading with God to end Vic’s suffering.
So, today I will allow peace back into my heart. I will do my best to be a good back-up mommy to the boys. I will try to live with my pain. And when sadness threatens to overwhelm me I will force my mind back to Vic’s words “I can’t do this anymore”. I will remember the indignity that she lived; her tears…
I will remember my baby girl’s laugh; her beautiful eyes; the rich texture of her hair. I will honour her pure heart, compassion and goodness.
I will celebrate the fact that Vic is now free of pain, indignity and loneliness. I will visualize Vic running free in Heaven.
Rest in Peace my Angel Child. You are ALWAYS in my heart.
“Promise me Mommy…..” 13.1.2013
It has been a long day. Vic is in a drug induced sleep. She looks so peaceful. Vic is not anesthetized – she wakes when she is thirsty or in pain. She has only urinated once in 24 hours. Her end is near.
Vic is looking angelically beautiful. Her skin is blemish free and almost transparent. Her hair seems to have taken on a life of its own. Her little hands look skeleton like. Her body is wasting away and yet she remains as beautiful as ever!
I will not sleep tonight. Many years ago I promised Vic that she would not die alone or in a hospital. The time is near and I must honour this promise.
Earlier tonight she woke up and I wasn’t in her room. She had a panic attack… Danie found her trying to walk down the passage. She was holding onto the wall and tears were running down her cheeks. “Mommy, I am scared…”
Something has started bleeding again. Vic vomited and there are signs of old and new blood again. “Look Mommy, my mouth is bleeding…” she said.
Vic is deadly pale and her body has involuntary “jerking” movements. She is decidedly unstable.
“Mommy, you have to get me to the awards evening. I don’t care how. Promise me Mommy!!!” She sobbed tonight. Tomorrow I will speak to the school and make the arrangements. It is not a wheelchair friendly school and Vic could never sit through a two-hour ceremony. We will find a way.
We had a strangely “normal” day today. Jared brought his gaming computer down from the study into my TV lounge. It is something I don’t encourage because there are wires and cords all over and I HATE the untidiness of it. Today I welcomed it. We needed to be close to one another. I swam twice and we ate spaghetti bolognaise.
The boys have fear in their eyes. I have fear in my heart.
Daddy don’t leave me…. 12.1.2013
A year ago I posted this. Yesterday we had visitors. We swam; the grandchildren laughed and joked, played hide and seek; we ate spaghetti bolognaise and ciabatta. I sat looking at all the happy faces and remembered Vic clinging to Danie. I remember the fear in her eyes. Her desperation. Her final Sunday.
Vic was desperately trying to finish the cards she had bought the boys. She wanted to write the perfect words. Words that would reach out to her boys from the grave. I remember my fear and frustration. Frustration that the cards had not been written and fear that it would not get done. So much pressure in death…
Tuesday brought an avalanche of visitors. It was a very, very emotional day. Vic was confused and seeing visions of angels and dead loved ones.
Vic’s friend Angela has been absolutely amazing. She has sat through many hours of Vic’s tears and fears. She has consoled and supported – at great personal expense. I have used Angela as a sounding board and dragged her into discussions with Siza. I discussed sedation and treatment options with her. She has hugged and messaged. She has been a pillar of strength.
Leigh, Jared BFF’s Mom, walked in on Tuesday with armloads of flowers. Vic’s room looked and smelled like a garden! It looked absolutely beautiful and Vic was thrilled.
Vic has refused to let go. She is holding onto life with every fibre of her being. She does not want visitors to leave and will try to get out of bed when they are here.
She cries and keeps asking “How do I say my final goodbyes?”
Esther visits every day. She picks up the boys after school. She is Vic’s guide. “Go towards the light. The light is good!” she keeps telling Vic. Esther is a ray of sunshine and like the Rock of Gibraltar. She is Vic’s sister in love.
It is heart wrenching!
Vic clings to her dad and the boys. She puts out her arms and says “Daddy don’t leave me…” When she sees her boys she cries “Please give me a hug…” and then “I love you more than life and then some more…”
I hate my life. I wish I were dead.
Godliness of a mother
“The woman who creates and sustains a home and under whose hands children grow up to be strong pure men and women, is a creator second only to God” Helen Marta Fiske Hunt Jackson
Vic raised two magnificent young men. They have beautiful manners, they are respectful to their elders and especially women. They are gentle, compassionate and like their mom they speak badly of no one. They have a wonderful set of values and morals.
Vic had so little time to raise her boys. She spent most of their lives in a hospital bed or in bed at home. The boys grew up doing their homework in her room, helping her cook… Jared was four years old when he made his (and his brothers) bed. “Because Mommy’s back is sore”…
The boys are old souls. They have witnessed so much pain and suffering… They have lived with, and cared for, a dying mother.
There was almost a Godliness to the way Vic raised her boys. Vic taught the boys to love their Lord. It shows in their pure hearts. Her legacy lives on through and in her boys.
I am so proud of you my Angle Child. You did good!
We need a miracle again….
Sr Siza examined Vic today. She phoned Dr Sue who will be in tomorrow morning. She also brought a script with for Dalacin antibiotics. The cellulitis has spread to all three the subcutaneous sites.
Siza expressed her concern at Vic’s decline…
Last Friday Danie, my husband, came and sat next to me and said “I know everyone says it will be better for Vic to die than live in this pain but I was thinking how hard it will be for us without her…”
That statement really shook me. Up until now death has been a hypothetical issue… Doctors diagnoses and prognosis…predictions… I have never really considered living without my child.
Last week Siza and I met with the CEO of Amcare, a large community project that provide community based feeding schemes, HIV/AIDS Counselling, Home-based care, skills development, ARV Clinic, women and children shelters. We are hoping that they…
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There are times in the life of a terminally ill person that death is no longer the enemy but rather a friend. Vic too surpassed all anniversaries and eventually I though she was invincible. But with invincibility comes pain, indignity, despair, depression… Thinking of you Mike in your brave journey.
Hospice – friend or foe?
Hospice – friend or foe?
A blogger friend, Terry, is preparing for her beloved brother Al, to move home from an Assisted Living Facility. Al suffers from Parkinson’s disease and his general health condition is extremely precarious. Terry blogged: “I finally heard nothing from the phone. I had done everything I could find to do trying not to have to make the dreaded call to Hospice. I decided not to use the Hospice here in our county. I was very disappointed in them with the lack of care they gave to my father.” http://terry1954.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/al-and-hospice-meet/
Vic wrote this on her Face Book page on the 15th of May 2011… “Today Hospice came to access my Grandfather… They dripped him & made him comfortable. He has lost his swallowing reflex, sleeps most of the day, is completely bedridden & can barely talk… The suddenness of his deterioration is very difficult to comprehend. Could you all say a big prayer for my Gramps and especially my Mom, who lost her best friend of 25 yrs., age 51 to a heart attack last Tuesday. My Mother is one of the strongest, bravest people I know… How do we say goodbye, how do I take my Boys to say their Goodbyes tomorrow, how do we accept that this incredible man has such little time left regardless of the fact that we all know that its best for him. How can I be strong for my babies when my heart breaks all over again, every day when I see him…? Especially my Eunice Friends will all remember how desperately my Gramps and Gran loved and spoilt me and how VERY MUCH they meant to me… I don’t want to live without him even though I realise that that is extremely selfish, but I love my Grandfather so desperately, it’s not fair… All I ask for is compassion… Compassion for Gramps and my Mother… Thank you to everyone for all your love & support through everything… Love Vic…”
I am a great believer in the services that Hospices offer – worldwide. Hospice cared for my Dad in the last week of his life and for Vic the last 5.5 months of her life. My experience was positive.
The hospice movement was started in the 1950’s in London by Dame Cicely Saunders, and the first hospice facility opened in London in 1967. Seven years later the United States opened their first hospice facility in 1974. In America the hospice movement has blossomed and hospice now serves 44.6% of patient deaths. Unfortunately, the median length of service for hospice patients is only 19.1 days, which means many patients did not receive the benefit of hospice care until the end of a difficult illness. In my country only 5% of the dying actually have access to Hospice services.
The original idea of hospice is that once curative treatments are no longer effective, a patient enrols in hospice to receive comfort care. In our culture of “fighting” death illness that should be addressed through ongoing decisions about the risk and benefit of interventions gets turned into a battle that should be won or lost. No one wants to be a loser, so the patient is reluctant to quit curative care until there is absolutely no hope. Many physicians are geared the same way, and their desire to give hope and “beat” disease results in a reluctance to call in hospice even when they know the situation is bleak.
Hospice care is for a terminally ill person who’s expected to have six months or less to live. This doesn’t mean that hospice care will be provided only for six months, however. Hospice care can be provided as long as the person’s doctor and hospice care team certify that the condition remains life-limiting.
The benefits of hospice and palliative care
Research published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that terminally-ill patients who received hospice care lived on average 29 days longer than those who did not opt for hospice near the end of life.
Source: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Hospice care providers offer specialized knowledge and support at the end of life just as obstetricians and midwives lend support and expertise at the start of life. Hospice can reduce anxiety in both the terminally ill patient and his or her family by helping them make the most of the time remaining and achieve some level of acceptance.
When terminally ill patients, who are often already in a weakened physical and mental state, make the decision to receive hospice and palliative care instead of continued curative treatment, they avoid the dangers of over-treatment. In-home care from a hospice team often means the patient receives greater monitoring than he or she would in a hospital. In addition to focusing on the physical health and comfort of a patient, hospice care also focuses on the emotional needs and spiritual well-being of the terminally ill and their loved ones.
The above is all well documented facts. Yet, when a family is faced with that terrible decision to call in Hospice, it is a deeply emotional decision. The phone call is a terrifying telephone call. This is evident from Vic and Terry’s posts…..
It made me realise what a massive challenge lies ahead of us in Stepping Stone Hospice. We need to educate the community. We need to dispel the fear of and for Hospice.
I often wondered exactly what went through Vic’s mind in the final months of her life when she felt death sneaking up on her. I know she was scared and lonely; she was heartbroken knowing that her boys would grow up without her….I am not stupid. I know that Vic did not share all her fears and thoughts with me. She was trying to protect me.
Today I read a bittersweet post. I wept when I read the words. It was as if I heard Vic’s voice…felt her fear…
Bittersweet June 4, 2013 by sugarmagzz | 6 Comments It happens from time to time, I get a glimpse of my “old” life and for a fleeting second forget that I am dying of cancer. These moments are simultaneously wonderful and devastating. I might be out with a friend for lunch, pumping gas into my car, shopping for Owen, or doing dishes at my kitchen sink. It’s always random and for that brief moment I feel free, as though I’m flying and nothing is tethering me down. I feel like I did before, able to live my life without a shadow cast overhead. It doesn’t last very long because reality always comes crashing down, dragging me with it in its vice-like grip. In this moment of clarity — when it all comes rushing back to me — I can’t breathe. I’m ten again and I’ve fallen flat on my back off the trampoline — immobile, breathless, terrified. This time there is no ground to break my fall, and so I’m left to kick and scream in mid-air with no one to hear me, no one to catch me. Alone and falling, falling so fast — past the memories that were supposed to one day be mine. I reach out to touch them and slide my fingers over their sparkling surface… The look on Owen’s face when he sees Disney World for the first time. The birth of our second child, to see again Andrew’s incredible capacity for the patience and self-sacrifice of fatherhood. Owen’s high school and college graduation ceremonies, his wedding. Ashlei’s wedding, the birth of her children, becoming an Aunt. Retirement — relaxing on the dock looking out over the lake with him, my partner in life…reminiscing about the early days and arguing over chores, still. Grandchildren. I will not see these momentous occasions, they will occur without my physical presence. I hope that there is more to this life, and that I can be there in some way, spirit or otherwise. I hope that my loved ones will always feel me near as they celebrate those unforgettable moments that life has to offer, but my sorrow at missing out on them is endless. I am so very grateful for the incredible moments I have been blessed to experience and I will hold them close until the end. When my time comes, I will take my last breath knowing that my time here was extraordinary, that during my brief existence I lived and loved as greatly as I could. I know there will be more wonderful memories to make before this happens, but everything for me is tinged with darkness — all of the good moments are bittersweet. Still I fight for them, even though they are broken and imperfect. They may not be the memories I thought they would be, but they will still be special.
Tonight I am doubting myself again. I wonder – did I comfort my child enough? Why was this precious child of mine condemned to a life of horrible pain and suffering? She never truly lived! Why did she die and bad people continue to live and prosper? Why was she deprived of a future??? She was such a good person!!!!!
I want to hold her and protect her. I want to tell her how much I love her. That she is the best thing that ever happened to me. That my life is empty without her. That I understood her fears.
I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!
I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!
Why don’t I just go to sleep and never wake up?
Last year Vic said: “Why don’t I just go to sleep and never wake up?”
This year – today – I am saying “Why don’t I just go to sleep and never wake up?”
Last year Vic said: “My boys don’t need me anymore. I have been sick all my life. Even my ears hurt. ”
On the 8th of January 2013 Vic said “Mommy my room is full of angels…”
Tonight I reread something a friend sent me as a comment https://tersiaburger.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=383&approved=1
I have been following your journey now for some time and my heart goes out to you and your family. It is NOT EASY to care for somebody that is terminally ill. It makes it even more difficult if that person is your child.
I would like to share something with you though. It is vitally important that you take care of yourself in this tiring time. Please accept all the help from family and friends that’s been offered to you. This will give you some breathing space. It will also allow Vic to know that it is okay if Mom is just having a little bit of “me” time. Her energy is very powerful and she proved it to everybody up to now that she wants to survive.
Allow all Angels and guides to assist you with the care that you and your family so much need right now. God allows you to call upon their assistance when you need them. When Jacob was struggling with an Angel he called the Angel Michael to assist him and Michael was there not only to help him, but also to guide him with whatever he was struggling with. There are many stories in the Bible and other scriptures about God’s Angels. What still amazes me is that God found it necessary to create Angels. HE knew that we and all other creatures would need assistance and comfort when we are lonely. It took me a long time to work this out. It was only after my mom passed away and I fell very ill that my awareness of these wonderful creations of God was awakened.
Dear Tersia, know they are there, they are with you. You just need to ask for their guidance and assistance. Please know that Angels come in all forms. It might be your neighbour, your friend, nursing staff or maybe a presence! Nurture yourself. Get all the friends, family and help that you can now and trust people. They will be guided and equiped with the knowledge to help you now. You need to be taken care of now and so does your family.
The angels did come to comfort my child in her most fear-filled day.
We have found many angels in human form. Friends, family, acquaintances, WordPress Friends, Facebook friends…..
Thank you Louise for opening my eyes to the angels. Thank you for the angels that comforted my child in her hour of need and thank you for the angels that came and took her by the hand and whisked her away to a pain-free, joy filled place.https://tersiaburger.com/2013/01/08/gramps-was-here/ https://tersiaburger.com/2012/06/17/i-always-pray-for-you-but-you-dont-seem-to-have-a-guardian-angel-17-6-2012/
29 days – Promises Kept
My beautiful Angle Child
Today it was 29 long miserable days since you stopped breathing.
I have continued to breathe, walk, talk, eat, drink tea; I have attended meetings, cried and even laughed. My life has continued yet part of me is dead. I have lost my words today. I just want to have a cup of tea with you. I want to tell you how much I love you and how much I miss you.
I’ve kept my promise,
of what I would do.
To continue to live,
my life without you.
I get up each morning,
I get through the day
struggling past tears,
every step of the way.
I go on with life with,
a forced happy face.
My heart aches badly,
for what I can’t replace.
I don’t know what to do,
to deaden this pain
It’s so hard, here without you,
where I must remain.
But I will keep my promise
and I must believe,
That you’ll be there waiting,
when it’s my time to leave.
The process of preparing for death
A while ago I read the following “When you, a friend, or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a process is begun: the process of preparing for death. For many, this time of preparation can be transformed into a rewarding, comforting ending, giving meaning to life, and dignity to death.” Terminal Illness – Preparing for Death – Dealing with Illness
Today a mere 24 days after my child stopped breathing I re-examined this statement.
“When you, a friend, or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a process is begun: the process of preparing for death.” This is so true. In one foul sweep everything changes! The way one approach every day; every birthday, Christmas and New Year… One sets small goals. You learn to appreciate the small things in life – having a cup of coffee with a friend, celebrating another Mother’s Day, living long enough to see the newborn of a loved one…
Last will and testament … setting up trusts for the children; sorting out photos; tidying up cupboards; making decisions whether to have a funeral or cremation….Just close your eyes and feel the terror of planning your own memorial service…. Feel the terror of knowing that your organs are shutting down….feel the terror of knowing that you will have to say goodbye to your loved ones – that they will walk out of your room and you will never see them again, feel the touch of their gentle hands, never hold your sons again….. Imagine knowing that your life is running out. Knowing that soon you will breathe your last breath!
This is what my Vic experienced. She kept asking her BFF, Angela, “How do I say goodbye?” Vic would cry and hold onto Angela. “Don’t go! Please stay”.
Imagine being on death row with the execution date set. The process has begun…. The condemned gets to make a will, meet his family for the last time, write his last letters, order his last meal and wonder what death will feel like…
Vic was scared. She feared death. She feared not knowing how death would feel….she feared closing her eyes and not ever seeing her loved ones again.
“For many, this time of preparation can be transformed into a rewarding, comforting ending, giving meaning to life, and dignity to death”…. What a load of hogwash! No matter how much love surrounds the dying person there is no dignity in death. How can death be rewarding?
It is however an amazing experience to witness the transition of the body when the soul leaves!
This time of preparation is a time filled with trepidation and fear. Nobody KNOWS what lies beyond your final breath. What is the Catholics are correct and you head for purgatory? No one is sin free….What if Islam is correct and you are a Christian? Then you are doomed to hell! Hopefully the Christian faith will allow us entry into Heaven…. We will only know when we die!
Comforting time? What comfort can there be in dying? No more pain? Sure! That is certainly comforting but what about the terrible, terrible knowledge that one will be separated from your loved ones? The love that enshrouded you all your life will be plucked from your existence! The love will continue but there is a divide between life and death that cannot be crossed!
Meaning to life? Yes that is true I suppose if you are distant and removed from your family or loved ones or if you had a “purposeless” life. Dying does give an opportunity to live each day, not waste time procrastinating or living in anger.
Dignity in death? There is no dignity in a lingering death. Bit by bit the terminally ill lose their dignity. Every day there is some new loss to mourn. The final days, if they are lucky, they will be sedated. If not they will writhe in pain, choking on their own phlegm and gasping for breath, their hearts racing and delusional from fever.
People around the dying become scared and start praying for their deaths…I know because I did! People stop visiting because they want to remember the dying person as a healthy, happy person….The terminally ill cease to exist to most of the world long before they die.
Stepping Stone Hospice has 26 patients. We have had 12 deaths to date – Vic being the first. Stepping Stone has allowed the dying to die pain-free. Maybe the rewarding ending is for the living?