FROM THE DOWNHILL SLOPE My mother-in-law is 104 and has been in assisted living for about 10 years now. She does not need skilled nursing care, the son who is a doctor arranged for her placement and oversees her care. Up until two years ago she was using email. Two months ago she started saying, “Why am I still alive.” Sad, perhaps a certain amount of dementia is good, but how can we know what another feels. Hard.
I have worked with many at the end of their Downhill Ride. To me the key difficulty is figuring out when you are prolonging death rather than life and when the body remains strong as in my mother-in-law’s case, and the mind still reasonably functional it becomes more difficult to figure that out. For me when I wrote my living will, I made it clear that if I could not communicate my desires, it was probably time to let me go.
We are struggling now with our beloved dog’s downward slide and of course the cannot really tell us her level of physical pain let along any emotional pain she feels. And with us humans, the emotional pain, such as my mother-in-law now expresses is the hardest to decipher. Would she be helped by anti-depressants. Would having her own computer let her communicate more fully and feel less lonely. I know I would have a much harder time on my journey without my blog and my computer and my many on-line friends. So hard to know. And as the children not right there, the decisions are not ours, which is both a relief and a source of guilt. Life as it is.
Anyway, thank you for blogging this. I have reposted it on my blog. Stay strong, life is a journey and full of rocks and flowers. Your Mum is lucky to have you.
Share, care and I remind myself, Stay strong.