The other day I was inspired to write a post on something a lot of people are afraid of and something some people maybe don’t understand. I was inspired through a college psychology class that I am currently taking. I was inspired through a teacher who wanted the class to watch a video on this very subject that some people avoid… The natural part of life, death.
I understand for some of you reading this right now that it may be hard, it may bring tears. Some of you will understand of some won’t and that’s okay. No matter who you are, if you took the time to read this, I thank you and hope that I help each and every one of you in some way through my words.
While watching that video in class, something spoke to me, especially in two particular parts. One being random people asked where they would want to be in their hour of passing, pretty much everyone said in their homes with their families. The other part was towards the end and was focuses on one man and what he was going through. He had a disease that affected his nervous system and would ultimately end with the passing of life. Upon listening to this man’s story, he says that he didn’t want to suffer, when you start to lose some of the good things about life, such as being to able your hand or your leg on your own. When you can no longer do simple things for yourself, like brushing your teeth…it becomes harder to notice the things you can do and easier to notice the things you cant’ do.
Hearing his words made me think of my grandmother who passed away in October 2012. I was very close to my grandma, in fact, my mom used to call me a “grandma’s girl” verses the usual “daddy’s girl.” The night her life on Earth ended and all the memories I cherished with her will forever be in mind heart and mind. In order for me to explain why this video spoke to me in such an encouraging way, I will explain what happened to my grandmother.
My grandma was a very strong woman, fought and won two battles with two types of cancer, stopped smoking cold turkey and even survived the loss of her husband of 47 years just a few years before she lost her last battle. Her last seemed a lot simpler than others she faced, but being 84 years old, she was tired. Her first round of cancer was a tumor very close to one of her kidneys and ultimately, she won her battle by having that kidney removed. However, due to only having one kidney, it made things a lot harder on her when the one she did have started shuting down.
The only way to fix this issue is to either have surgery or start kidney dialysis which basically does the common fuctions of a healthy kidney when your kidneys fail to work. Due to her age, the doctors were afraid that she would not make it through surgery so she opted for dialysis. She was in the hospital for a few days for her treatements and the family would all o spend some time with her during the day. I would go sit on the bed with her and watch some of our favorite shows and tell her about my day because she would always ask.
Well, she went through two rounds of dialysis before complications started. One night, my mom was visiting her while I was at school, she had come home around 8pm and said everything was fine when she left but she kept saying something told her to stay. Around 10pm that night, she recieved a call from the hospital saying that she needed to get up there as soon as she could. My mom and I threw on some clothes and my dad drove us there, good thing we only live a few minutes away. When we first got there, my mom went in by herself to figure out what happened and where we needed to go, she made me stay with my dad. Seems like forever went by before we went up to see her and by this time, a lot of my other family had shown too. Finally, all of us get to go in and when we get to the floor was on, we immediately were greeted by her doctor. He talked to my mom and some other family members, but I didn’t know what we happening. Then comes the moment of understanding for me..the moment the doctor took my entire family into a room just for us. At this point, I knew what was happening, but it hadn’t set in yet, even seeing everyone around me crying. When my cousins, who are close to my age and whom I’ve always been close with showed up, all of us tried to laugh and talk with each other. We started hearing code blues and at first we didn’t understand what that meant. All that changed for us when we were told we could go see her in small groups. When it my mom and I’s turn, that’s when I finally understood what was going to happen, that’s when everything hit me. I found myself walking back to see her with tears already running down my face. Code blue means cardiac arrest; my grandma had been labeled code blue twice since we had been there and once before we arrived, there was nothing else they could for her. Upon entering the room, I always tell myself it was no longer my grandma lying there on that table. She had a tube in her mouth and a machine allowing her chest to move up and down. I went up to that table anyways and said my goodbyes, the fact that she didn’t respond to me was a clear sign she wasn’t really there.
I didn’t want to leave, but my mom made me due to my having classes the next day. My dad took me home at midnight and as much as my mom wanted to get sleep, I knew I wasn’t going to get much. I cried a lot at this point but also found myself praying for my grandma. I prayed for God not to let her suffer anymore, on the other hand, I did pray for God not to take her away, but more to let her have peace. A few hours latre, my mom came home and told me that she was gone. I shook my head okay and of course started to cry again, but I look back now and realize that God answered my prayer, he didn’t let her suffer anymore. Which now I also realize that it was because my mom had told the doctors not to try to save her, to let her go in peace which I am thankful to my mom for.
Anyways, why the video brought all these memories…my grandma never had the chance to say she wanted to die in her home with her family, I never got the chance to hold her hand and be there for her when she took that last breath and a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. A lot of people don’t get the chance to say what they want when their time comes and this video makes a good point about that.
It my honest opinion that I think everyone should take the time to have this conversation with the people they love, even though its uncomfortable. I can honestly say that I think about dying and how I would want things pretty often but I’ve never expressed those thoughts with my family and friends and after seeing that video in class, I just might get up enough courage to do so and I encourage all my readers and followers to do so as well
Thanks for reading Ladybugs and Manbugs! 🙂
Hint – The feature image on this post was my grandma, my cousin and I at my high school graduation. I am very thankful she got to be there for that milestone in my life.