People love slogans, and saying things like “Well you have to think about the quality of life,” or “Put yourself in their place would you want to live that way?” I am here to tell you that that’s all crap. Horrible things happen, and walking around spouting out slogans is of no comfort when you have to watch someone you love die in slow motion. All the people who will pat you on the back encouraging you to let the person you love go for their sake, will be the very same people who will avoid the consequences of turning that slogan into actual reality like the plague.
On Thursday night after over a year of questioning ourselves, and watching our loved one slowly deteriorate before our very eyes we made the decision to honor his living will. His feeding peg was turned off. A decision that in all truthfulness I can not say was something we were 100% sure was the right thing to do. The deciding factors were that we had reached the point where nothing else could be done to reverse his physical situation. For the last eleven months he has been bed bound. Being kept alive by a feeding peg. I know your saying to yourself that’s not living. Well that statement comes with a great deal of baggage.
He was still able to smile, and joke with us. You could still see his spirit. Even now after day five there are those moments when he escapes the dying process to show us he is still there, still himself. This is torture for us. It leaves you standing by his bedside almost in a panic, wanting to run out and bring back the feeding peg. All the people who kept proclaiming that this was what was best for him are the same people who are now unable to find the unbelievable amount of strength it takes to watch someone die in slow motion before their very eyes.
They do not sit by his side every hour comforting him. Making sure you don’t ball your eyes out in front of him. They do not sit with you as well-meaning family and friends come in, and out of the room to see him. They do not have to bathe him, or turn him from side to side to keep his fragile skin from breaking open. When they see him now they do not spew out the slogans that they once held with such adamant regard. Now they are filled with the reality of what dying in slow motion looks like. They can not find the strength to watch the very thing they felt was” the right thing to do .”
They can leave that room after a few short minutes,and escape back to their lives.This is not an option for our loved one. This is something we can not do either because even in those brief moments when we trade places to take a shower or handle the daily tasks that still need to be handled, we are still there in that room watching our loved one dying in slow motion.