Perhaps what affects me most is the thought of the pain usually associated with death, not death itself.
As I get older, so do my parents and a whole generation’s parents. This is pandemically effecting our society today and believe me, it’s not pretty.
Our national healthcare system is effected in so many ways, with expenses in Medicare and Nursing Care and Hospice besides mental care for our generation dealing with it. But I don’t want to get into political issues today, I want to focus on family and emotions.
I can’t even tell you the emotional toll and heartbreak I’ve been through with all the decisions that have to be made with elder-care. Our society would have people live forever if they could, but is it quality or quantity we want for our family members? I’m for quality! When is enough enough? I don’t mean to sound cold-hearted, believe me, I’ve been traveling this road for years with my mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and my father from Parkinson’s disease. It seems to me modern medicine can prolong their lives, but I hope for them when they’ve had enough that the “powers that be” will take them and not have them suffer unduly.
To see our once strong heroes turn into weak dependents is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face, harder than my own brush with breast cancer. To know that there is only so much you can do for them, that the doctors and nurses you and they depend on are now in control no matter how much you wanted to do it ALL for them. The right answer was to call in the professionals, but how do you tell your heart that is the right answer, when you know these were the same people who gave you succor for the first 18 years of your life without thought? It is the right answer, after all, you’ve always learned to get the right person for the job.
When you can’t sleep at night, how do know you’ve done the right thing? You have to believe in yourself and realize that you were taught by these same people, these wonderful parents, right from wrong, to make hard decisions, and not fear death! It is a part of life.
When the time comes for my parents to go to their great reward in the sky, I will be sad because I will miss them, not the shadow of their former selves, but the parents I knew who were strong and taught me many of the things I know, who loved me well, and made me the strong person I am today. I won’t miss the sick old people they are now, I will rejoice that they are relieved of their misery and hope they didn’t suffer too much. I will remember that all things die and that they lived a good long life and were good parents, good people and the same goes for me, I hope my children can make peace with my passing when it’s my time.
I think if we could all remember this and put it into perspective, perhaps the medical industry could, too. Instead, though I know there are many good cures and preventive measures out there today, I’m not sure if all the medication and other measures don’t prolong life too long as these older folks stay at these elder-care facilities “waiting to die”.
I know I don’t have the answer, I just think there may be better ones and perhaps too much intervention isn’t the answer . . .
Remember the good old days when people died of old age, not hung on at the precipice long after you know they’d rather have gone on to their “great reward” ?
© Evelyn Garone 6/5/12