28 comments

  1. A MEN ! why should we be held captive by others fear ?? It is my greatest wish that when there is no more left to enjoy that it could be MY choice as to how and when it ends NOT some afraid politician. !!!!

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  2. Absolutely one of the most powerful pieces of writing on the subject I have read yet. Thank you for saying what you have said. Thank you for your gift of words. Thank you for this incredible pot of soup.

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  3. My father spent his last about three months in a nursing home. I had managed to keep him at home, with some in-home services, until his dementia advanced too far for that combined with physical frailty. I am fairly sure that by the time he went in his memory was so far gone that once settled in he probably did not know he had ever been anywhere else. He did not ask about his dog, which is a good indicator. I am grateful that he had advance directives and a DNR, and that when the end came and he was unresponsive those were respected. The way to change what D. Profeta describes is for individuals and families to think on what we want and how we want the ends of our and our loved ones’ lives to be, and not to be, and to set our hand to the documents that will make it so.

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    1. My husband went home to be with our Lord At his requst to be at home in his chair .The one I got Him for Our 42 Wedding ann .He said he was tired of living like he was.and he love us .I only hope when I get to go be with him I can to go at home with my children and love one around

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  4. Beautifully written, thank you! Wouldn’t it be lovely to come into this world peacefully to parents who deeply love and appreciate us, to then be given the chance to leave in very much the same way – peacefully, deeply loved and appreciated.

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  5. Thank you for this. My dad and I were privileged to have my mom in Hospice care in her own bedroom. Dad and I cared for her with the help of loving and compassionate nurses, whom she loved. She had metastatic breast cancer, and had lived well and successfully with it for 25 years. When the meds stopped working, her doctor said she could have chemo or ‘let nature take its course.’

    “THAT one; letting nature take its course! That’s what I want,” Mom said emphatically.

    And so she did. She had a wonderful time; many visitors bearing treats and gossip, phone calls and gifts and cards came nearly every day. Her PEO chapter arranged a meal schedule so that Dad didn’t have to worry about meals each week. We had lots of time to laugh and cry together, talk about the past and present and future, kiss and hug and hold hands. I wrote her obit and she approved it. We planned her funeral, her “going away” outfit, hair and makeup. She had a great time giving away her jewelry, clothing, shoes and coats.
    We spoke our love over and over again. She was grateful for the chance to say goodbye to everyone.

    When her system became so saturated with morphine her mind began to wander a bit, we were there to assure that everything was all right. She lit up when friends or Dad or I came into the room, and she said “I love you” to us all. Then there were days when she cried to die; she wanted out of her poor sick body, and wanted to fly with the angels. She said that all her earthly work was done, and why couldn’t she just go?

    That’s when Dad or I would hold her like a child, and tell her that the time to go would come. And when that time did come, she went peacefully and joyfully, knowing that she was finally going home.

    We need more talk in this country about the process of dying and death. It is nothing to fear; it is only another transition. When she was dying, she taught us all how to fully enjoy life. People deserve to die the way they want to, not the way that is easy or expedient. We need to have these talks at any early age and understand that dying is natural. Talking about it and planning takes the fear away. With Hospice care, we had the chance to connect even more fully than before. We saw how the process of dying can be graceful, kind and fearless.

    Thank you for your wonderful post.

    Jane

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  6. My Mom sent me this…I NEED to sit down and ask how she is doing and what has prompted this message sharing. I would rather do this now than be torn with decisions later while my sister and I debate as to who knows Mom best.
    THANK YOU

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  7. My grandmother is in a nursing home, she has no life, she just exists from day to day, she is bedridden and only has a few visitors each week, such as my uncle and his wife and my mum and me that is all she would rather be with my pop in heaven

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  8. Yeah, in the “old days” people had very little faith in medicine’s ability to stave off death. They could be accepting to the inevitability of death. Now, things are different. Medicine can cure. It can stop the disease process. Families have hope. Death is inevitable but medicine has complicated the issue has it not?

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  9. This article really struck a chord with me. I am a retired critical care nurse of 30 years. When I first started practice in 1976, we did actually have physicians who would take the family into a quiet room, away from the intensive care environment and tell them they had done all they could do. It was time to comfort their family member, say what needed to be said, and let them go in peace. Somewhere along the way that whole mentality became skewed. All I ever heard in those rooms was what we could try next in the hopes of extending an already hopeless situation. The difficult decision, if it was ever offered, to withdraw support was placed solely on distraught family members at a time when guilt kept us pounding on chests, running dialysis machines, and replacing yet another liver after the first and even a second was rejected.

    After thirty years of this my body, soul and mind had had enough and I essentially got up one morning and could not go back. I retired early due to both physical and emotional wear and tear. The final straw was two patients who suffered for six months in isolation suites after double lung transplants. One a 21 year old woman who spent the last six months of her life looking at all of us draped in isolation garb with only our eyes showing. The other a 50 year old man whose wife refused to give up despite rejection and multi-system organ failure. I feel a personal guilt for what we allowed those two individuals to endure.

    When my body starts to fail me, I will choose palliative care and hospice at home. I have made this clear to my family and in a legal document. I prefer quality of life over quantity and I think most, if given the opportunity to speak for themselves would voice the same.

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    1. This a very sweet article, almost romantic in its portrayal of an elderly woman dying at home. My brother and I are looking after our elderly parents in their home. They are both 94. My mother no longer recognizes anyone and is bed bound. My father sleeps most of his day away and when he is awake feels guilty that he has commandeered our lives in order to keep the two of them out of a nursing home. There article assumes that there is loving family close by to bring flowers and soup and take care of the elderly. My brother and I are lucky that my parents have always had good neighbors, but we have both away from our own homes for over a year. As much as I want good things for my parents, I have to recognize that their care has caused havoc in the rest of our lives. We are no longer a part of our family’s lives. We have left jobs and friends behind in order to meet this crisis. We see our spouses and grandchildren on FaceTime, talk to our friends on the email, but we are missing a lot in their lives. We have learned one thing out off this–we will NOT let this happen to our children! We will arrange for our own care well in advance in what we hope will be a kind and loving facility where our family can come to see us, but can continue with their own lives. The fall-out from caring for the elderly day after day is huge. I think the picture the author paints here is lovely and would be nice if we can arrange it, but please don’t let me take over someone else’s life in my old age.

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  10. I work with the elderly, caring for them in their own homes and every one of them, even those still with some mobility, express the wish to die. It is really hard to know how to console these people who are wanting to make a choice about dying with dignity before it is all taken out of their hands.I think the article is perhaps a little over-romanticised but having said that – I believe it must be possible to deal with this issue in a more humane way. Death is part of our Life journey and is inevitable and coming to us all, us, our children, grandchildren etc It is such an important aspect of life to consider…

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  11. My grandparents and my dad died in their own beds, in their own houses with us as their caregivers. No feeding tubes or machines. Just us . That’s how I hope I will go too.

    Liked by 1 person

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