Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Final Solution



My mother passed away in 2015. She was 91 years old and I believe she was ready. Most of those who mattered to her were gone and she spent her final days alone with assistance from one of my brothers. Those final five or six years (perhaps more – I’m not sure) were stressful to my older brothers. There was/is a lot of verbal fighting, name calling and hurt feelings that may never be mended. I stayed out of most of this, because I’m away from them. I do carry guilt, but that’s a small price.
Why mention the above? Because of a conversation I had with my son and his wife early last year when I visited them in Florida. From the distance, I watched the already strained bond between my brothers’ break because of the care that our mother needed. In her final days they hated each other (no better word) and sadly they seemed to hate her. Because of this I told my son and daughter-in-law that I made the decision to never let this happen to them when the time comes that I might need help surviving. If the time comes that I can no longer make my own decisions, I believe I’ve been here to long and I will need to take care of the situation. I will not allow what took place around my mother to happen with those I love.
OK – I usually don’t discuss the topic of suicide with those who matter, because… well for most it’s a bit frightening. I mentioned the above with Lisa and she got upset – said it would be a selfish act. I understand that and between you (the less than a handful who actually read this blog) and me, I’m not talking about doing anything in the near future – hopefully. As long as I have my health, I will probably still be around. The first condition for remaining among the living is that I stay relatively healthy (physically and mentally). The second condition is that I believe I’m doing more than taking up space. LOL – yeah I know that’s a tough one for some to grasp. It means I have to have hope that by remaining here I still have the ability to do more than breathe, eat and sleep.
Done – I’m not going to justify my feelings more so than I have. Don’t freak out – my current situation does make me think about this subject more, but there are still a lot of pluses in my life… a lot.
J

5 comments:

  1. I hear yah. I can relate and I understand your decision. I'm in the middle of a similar type of situation. We are 5 sisters. One lives far away. both parents need care, mom has parkinson and dementia - she's in a special ward at a nursing home. Dad lives in a flat at the same nursing home. He's in a wheelchair and needs much help. There is tension, grief, drama,old issues and you name it. It's difficult. I've basically told my kids the same as you have.

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  2. Seeing Mom's life and brothers' reaction to needs, I understand that where a plan is missing, there is pain and chaos. We've talked with our kids too and have made a plan. By insisting that we go to a nursing facility will remove the pressure on kids and grandkids. They can visit when they want but won't have to change a diaper. The kids will object but I believe in their hearts they will be relieved. And we will get professional care.

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    1. Well put, Dee. Watching the events unfold over the last few years has changed my opinion on longevity. As long as I can maintain my independence and feel I have worth I'll hang around. I don't see it as an end, but as a new beginning.

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  3. I made that decision when I was probably too young to make it, and way before you knew me I made that decision when I was probably too young to make it, and way before you knew me Coach Al, but still stand behind it. Her health suddenly, drastically, and rapidly declined 6 months before she passed. My mother, my aunt, my grandmother, and my great aunt all moved in to her home and took shifts taking care of her. My Great Grandma was a first generation Italian Immigrant, and we were very much an old country kind of family. You didn't send them away, they remained at home, and you just took care of them until they passed. It never led to resentment or hate though. Hell even GG didn't want to be a burden. if she hadn't been a devout Catholic (again Italian) suicide would have been her first choice, she did have a DNR. the hardest part was watching her very slowly whither away, knowing she had to be in pain, knowing she was starving, and being unable to do anything. And then there was the wondering of what her mental faculties and awareness really were, as she had been having bouts of dementia and memory loss before it got really bad. Watching that grief, even at 12, and being a part of it, with someone who I loved very much and had been the rock of our family, was beyond difficult, for everyone. So that's when I made the decision your making. I swore if ever I became unable to eat or feed myself, use the restroom on my own, and especially if I ever began to suffer from or was diagnosed with any type of memory loss like Alzheimer's or dementia, I would take care of the situation before it got worse myself. My family is well aware of my intentions, and get kind of pissed off when I talk about it, which I get. Dying shouldn't be a burden to those we love, whether they see it as a burden or not. It is when the dying happens slowly. Loss and grief are hard enough on their own I won't add to that pain by allowing my body to take its sweet time in getting around to it.

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    1. A hard life lesson to learn at such a young age. A problem is that people will either get it or they won't.

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