The Organizing Network
The social worker said to me "It would be nice if she could just let go."
She said this - with the best of intentions - in reference to my mother who has been struggling with multiple myeloma since being diagnosed with it eight years ago.
Ordinarily this statement would not have caught my attention except that I had recently cautioned a friend about her penchant to rush through traffic.
We rush, we rush, we rush! We rush into life; we rush through life; and now it seems that we should rush out of life!
What next? Shall we rush through eternity?
Where's the "quality care" in that kind of thinking?
This "RUSH" mentality is symptomatic of a "dis-eased" philosophy!
I'd like to think that at least the death process can be a time of intimacy between a person and their God. And intimacy should never be rushed!
Of course, my mother's body has been ravaged by this disease and I struggle to remember her with that abundant physical strength with which she raised me.
But we don't love our mothers for their bodies - we love them for their SPIRIT! And as long as her spirit is alive in that ragged body of hers, I want her to live every nanosecond of her life.
If I appear to be a doting son or a momma's boy, so be it. But she proved herself to be a tremendous friend to me and I know that if I were suffering from cancer and she had strength, I would have "quality" attention - and NO suggestion of letting go!
Could you look at your best friend and encourage them to "let go" of their final seconds; to let go of the final vestiges of the universe's greatest miracle? (A friend is a friend and just because she also happens to be your mother doesn't mean that she should be treated differently.)
For whose benefit should we want her to rush through her dying process? Certainly not for my benefit - for I learn new and fruitful things from her every day.
We don't know what kind of communication is going on inside the womb as a new person is being developed, nor do we know the nature of the communication that is going on inside a person who is dying. Though under the influence of morphine, to observe my mother in her sleep, saying, "Yes, Jesus", "Yes, Jesus", as if she were respectfully conversing with the Lord, is a wonder and a beauty to me.
Though her verbal communication has been greatly reduced and her body has all but vanished, the spirit that I know as my mother - the spirit that has loved, chastised and forged me - is as strong as ever in her.
I don't believe in Kevorkianism!
There are lessons in pain. Witnessing pain educates those of us who want to learn from it. It teaches us to savor life more fully. It teaches us to be better, more comprehensive lovers of life and it is the best teacher of empathy. And empathy is the beginning of "quality care".