I just read an article that should go viral. It probably won’t because it’s about death and I’ve noticed a common thread in my posts about death — people don’t love reading them! But that’s because death has such a bad reputation. Read this article and maybe, just maybe it’ll start to change your view. This man’s mother died a “good death,” due in part to her loving choices.
This is going to sound strange but the day my father died was simultaneously one of the saddest and most beautiful days of my life. He died in my home, as he requested. He knew it was coming; he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer only 7 weeks earlier. My husband and I were home, as were my three little girls. We had watched a movie the day before and the next day my dad was conscious but a bit restless. My husband and I took turns sitting with him and listening to his thoughts about his life. It was pretty surreal and within a few hours, he fell asleep but remained restless. We sat by his side because we worried he’d get out of bed and fall. He was sleeping but struggling a bit to breathe. We comforted him and let him know he didn’t have to fight so hard, it was okay to let go. When he did let go and die, essentially in his sleep, he was peaceful and serene, almost smiling.
I was grateful to be able to accompany my father on the journey of his last days. Metaphorically and almost literally, I held his hand until we both had to let go. I believe he knew I was there the whole time at the end and I felt comforted by his presence too. He had helped my throughout my life and it seemed fitting and coming full circle for me to be able to help him when he needed it. I was unspeakably sad but it felt natural, like this was the way death should be — a moment of beauty, a moment of love, a moment of the most poignant communication.
You can help your aging parents have that same kind of good death. But only if you take proactive measures to make that happen. It starts with communication. Click here for a previous post to help you get that ball rolling. The good death awaits.