We fear to become burdensome to our loved ones. A 75-year-old friend told me she would rather be euthanized than being placed in a hospice because she does not wish to bother anyone in her last days. My mother would rather be institutionalized than becoming a burden to her daughters. The sick or aged may no longer be able to contribute physically for the society, but emotionally the final weeks or months spent together with them would mean much to those who care for them. It is a passage that we all should go through – caring for our loved ones on deathbed when we are young, and accepting care when it is our turn to face the inevitable.
I saw the following interaction when I was a hospice nurse.
The family decided to take care of her at home, and her youngest son quit truck-driving in order to become her primary caretaker. One day, when he helped the emaciated mother onto a commode, she was visibly upset. Losing her independency had been painfully hard for this strong-willed woman.
“What’s the matter?” the son asked. “I want….,” the mother uttered. “I want you to do what you want to do.” “Mom, I’m doing what I want.” “I mean, out there on the road!” “Mom,” he sighed. “You may not like this, and I don’t know how to say this, but this thing is helping me.”
Yes, she was helping him cope with her passing. She was also helping him grow. The time he spent for her will continue to sustain him for the remainder of his life.