“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” ~ John F. Kennedy
My Australian friend, retired nurse and author, Maureen Helen from ‘How to be Eighty, recently wrote an article about the preparations she had made for the end of her life, her Advanced Health Directive; such a very brave step to take and it has given me much to think about. Do visit Maureen and read her post, you will receive a warm welcome
Every life and every death is different, and I asked myself if I would be brave enough to do the same as Maureen. It set me on a melancholy path as I began thinking about the loved ones I have lost, and I commented on Maureen’s article with something not too dissimilar.
I didn’t give much thought to my own death until my husband died. He battled cancer for two years, suffered chemotherapy, and painful surgery, but he chose to look on the bright side, and his glass was always half full.
Shortly before his death he began to feel unwell and was admitted to hospital for further tests. A day or so later, on his 68th birthday we were told his cancer had returned and had spread into other areas of his body, he was given an estimate of two to three months to live. He joked he would have to go home first because he hadn’t finished his crossword.
He never did come home, and less than two weeks later, he died. His unfinished crossword still at the side of our bed exactly where he had left it.
I think I aged overnight it made me realise that death has no scruples and can take any of us at any time. I felt vulnerable and was certain I wouldn’t live to be a ‘good age’ either.
Today, six years on, I take life as it comes, what will be will be.
At the age of eighty-seven, my dad suffered a third stroke, his speech had gone, and he was unable to walk. Mum and I visited him daily in the hospital, and each time he took my hand, the tears ran down his face.
He died a month later from pneumonia. I wondered whether the hospital had treated his pneumonia, but l didn’t ask. I have no idea what he would have wanted, but I do know that the last month of his life must have been dreadful for him.
At eighty-one, my mum was suffering from lung disease, the outcome of an industrial past. She needed twenty-four-hour oxygen, and could no longer walk more than a few feet, she used a commode instead of the toilet and could do little for herself.
We turned the dining room into a bedroom and Mum came to live with us, neither she nor I would have wanted it any other way. I cut down my working hours, and the care assistants helped out during the mornings when I was at work. My daughters also popped in and out.
On one of the occasions when she was admitted to hospital, she was asked, “If your heart gives out do you want us to resuscitate?” She was horrified at this, life was such a struggle for her, but she wasn’t ready to give up on it.
The lung disease eventually ravaged her and she died in hospital three months after moving in with us. She turned to the nurse who was helping her to bed from her chair and said: “Oh, I do feel cold”. Minutes later she died peacefully while holding my hand and only a minute or so after I arrived at her side.
I’m uncertain whether I could be as brave as Maureen and make my end of life plans, whatever decision I make now, will I feel the same when the time comes? On the other hand, would I be capable of such thoughts, will I be of sound mind, will my life have a quality?
So far, my only instructions to my children are that they scatter my ashes here in the fields while playing Country Roads, Olivia’s version, and sing along very loudly!
I also reminded them to close all the windows as it gets very windy up here at our place😂
(C) SueW-nansfarm.net 2019 Linked to Peaceful from Weekly Prompts and Welcome from Fandango