Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Relief of Someone Dieing.

"Some days I'm glad he died, rather than lived as a vegetable, in a coma... does that make me a bad person?"

"No... it just means you loved him."


How many times did we say, in the ICU, that we wanted him to wake up? But whole, please. Then we would retract it- as whole as possible. A limp, a speech slur, learning to walk again.. any of that was fine.... but no less than that. If we wasn't whole, or almost whole, then we could let him go... we had to.

I think we were lieing. I know I was. I was have taken those chocolate brown eyes opening, focusing... I would have taken him any way he came.


I'm almost disgusted in myself, every time I think it. I've only said it out loud a handful of times.

How can you say you are glad someone died, no matter what the parameters that surround that emotion are?

Most people understand, when I tell them... but it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, a rock of shame in my stomach.

If it came down to the choice of having him die, or having him alive but only just... breathing, but not there. Severely brain damaged. Not the Tony we knew and loved.

Or, worse again... there. Conscious and alert, but unable to physically react, unable to move at all.

If it came to a choice between him dieing, and that... I'm glad he died.

And I know he would have been too- because we spoke about it, many times. "Turn me off," he'd say. "I wouldn't want to live like that."

I hope he felt the same way, when it came down to it. I guess he must have.

I received an email from a woman, months ago, who was in a similar situation to me.... a few months before, her life had exploded when her husband was badly injured through an accident. He lived, but was severely physically and mentally effected.

I was so in awe of this woman, her strength, her grace, her presence of mind. I was so jealous, so hungry to be her.... she still had her husband, no matter what condition he be in.

At the same time, I was sick with relief that I was not her, that my husband was gone and I could move on, start again... let go.

I've wondered, many times, what would I have done if Tony had survived, brain damaged and unable to care for himself?

I would have run away, to begin with, I'm certain of that. At least with a funeral it was over... had it continued, the pressure would have been too much, too much steam and heat that would have eventually exploded.

But I would have come back. I'm almost positive of that. Because even now, I love him so much... just to sit by him, feel the warmth of his skin... that would have been enough. Just his presence would have been enough to sustain love.

I'm almost sure of it.

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Amy xxoo said...

Somewhat fortunately ( if you can even call it that ), you dont have to find out the answer to that question. Tony is gone and you have to just push on as best you can.
Its a horrible question to have to ponder, but i'm pretty sure the situation your in is no picnic itself.
Whats that they say about the grass being greener? Well i think in this case the grass is pretty much messy, and overgrown, and hard to mow on both sides of the sorry fence...

Toni said...

I think we'd nearly all feel as you do, Lori.
Your relationship with Tony would have changed if you'd been his full-time nurse and carer -- he would no longer have been your protector, your shelter.
It's a horrible situation to think about -- but then so is what you've been through.

Donna said...

There will always be what ifs to haunt you, begs and pleas to be made. But never feel bad for articulating the things you feel as you never know who you are helping. I love that you are so open and honest and say what needs to be said, Never stop x

Oldie said...

Love, there is no point in putting yourself through the What If's?

It only makes those moments worse and brings with it unecessary anguish.

More effective to catch yourself having these types of thoughts so that you can redirect the Mind's Focus onto other things in the real world around you.

I know it's not easy, but mastering your mind and therefore the 'emotions the negative thoughts create', is one of the most important things a human can do in life.

Miss Pink said...

I think he was happy you stood by his wishes. I truely do. I can understand his request.
The whole situation makes me think it's somewhat similar to the "Would you abort if you found out your baby had an abnormality?"
It's a hard decision, one that no one really knows what they will do until they're faced with it.
But I agree, it woudn't have been much of a life for him, for you, for the kids. It would be nice to have him still, but would you really "have him"?

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Lori, keep moving forward as beset as you can. I cannot imagine what the world has given to you and you still hanging tough with the kids and moving and all that entails. Know you are thought of every day and wished some peace.

Jess@Diary of a SAHM said...

I met a large family a few months back (whole bunch of kids). They were traveling, getting away from some family dramas that were hurting their children.

Today I learned that the young dad died; on the day his final daughter was born by c-section. The pressure from his parents, the guilt of not being able to protect his children from his family, resulted in a psychotic break. I wont go into details, cause they are not mine to share.
His wife is obviously gutted. She has no support network, a number if kids under 10, and is suddenly on her own. And though she would never have wished him dead, she sees one silver lining; she can disappear. She will never have the pressure from the family that they had been living with.

My point is this; it's ok to see the positive. It's ok to find something good. You need to do that. No you never wished Tony dead, but that doesn't mean you can't see how, considering the circumstances, that may have been the better thing.

Big hugs Lori. Xxx

Youna said...

Hugs are all I can offer...I went to a funeral this week, and people at work kept saying "sorry"..."how are you feeling?". The person who died had a drawn out fight with cancer, and I can honestly say that his death was a relief. Possibly not for his immediate family...but possibly so...I can only comment on my own feelings. But he was such a strong, large man before he got sick, to see him weak and in pain broke my heart every time I saw him. At least death brings peace to the person who dies...those of us who stay behind are the ones left to battle with the questions.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Eloquently said. *hugs*

ClaireyHewitt said...

No one knows what would say or think til they are there. And then, every thing happens so quickly you have no time to work out what you really think.

Life sometimes takes the options away for us. A blessing in disguise??I don't know. Maybe.

marketingtomilk said...

These kinds of emotions are always bound up in loss. I've been through it so many times with my mum. I'm not ashamed that I felt relief the day she died. Not because I wouldn't have given anything to have more time with her - but because we were letting her go without any more suffering. And that was the greater fear. Another close family member is currently on life support and the agony of those conflicting thought is again forever present. The only thing you can be sure of is that these are very human emotions, and shared by many.


Camila Belle said...

All the feelings your are talking about are natural. I can understand and respect either way a person's choice. My ex (though still legally we are married) recently was in an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. My initial reaction: shock, then I wanted to run away- I was so scared I would get stuck caring for him. Now, I'm taking things one step at a time, including are divorce which is now postponed. I'm really upset that he was partially to blame for his accident but now that I have accepted what has happened, I'm glad he is still here because his daughters still need him. I still need him. A part of me will always love him, no matter what. I'm glad he didn't pass, but I really what it comes down to is everyone's situation is different. Everyone feels different about their loved ones and everyone reacts differently. Even our mourning process is so different from one another. You sound like a very strong lady that is true to her heart.

Kelloggsville said...

You've had me sat thinking for a while abought what I would do if my husband had something happen that meant he was in a vegetative state. It seemed easy initially to think I would be glad he was still with me, that I could still feel him, care for him but after time knowing that he wasn't really him, having no feed back, nothing. How long would it be before I cam eresentful that there was more of my life to live but tied to life I hadn't chosen. AFter thinking about it for some time I came to the conclusion that there are circumstances where death may be better than life. Easy to say from my side of the fence, I hope I never have to face any close reality. xxx

Lisa J said...

Dearest Lori. I have followed your blog for a long time now, but not commented. Unbeknown to you, I have shed tears at your heartache, admired your resilience and bravery for sharing your deepest feelings, and celebrated with joy even the tiniest steps back towards happiness you have taken. You are such an honest, kind woman - there is absolutely no shame in being glad that Tony did not wake up to face a life of brain damage or as a vegetable. Wishing that that had happened would be wishing a terrible life he did not want upon him, and you love him far too much for that xxx

Anonymous said...

I admire you for bringing this topic into the light, and for speaking with honest authenticity.

My husband and I went to bed one night laughing, an hour later he got up to go to the bathroom collapsed, and died in my arms. He was 63. The mica unit worked on him for an hour, but I knew in my heart he was dead. He had often said, 'If I can't work I wouldn't want to live'. I miss him every day but know that he would have loathed living some half life.

My only child ended his life 10 years before my husband died. I miss him every day, but he did what he did because he felt he had no other option.

I have a chronic illness and have already decided that I want out when my quality of life becomes non existent. I have filled in all the forms, and already refuse any treatment that may prolong my life. I have a wonderful niece who has agreed to be the one to say 'Turn off the machine'.

Although I miss my husband and son I am not unhappy, I have a wonderful extended family and great friends, it's just that death holds no fear for me. I figure if my husband and son can do it, so can I.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry my comment came through as anonymous, I'm a computer dummy and I don't know how to make my name come up. It's Tricia Bertram

SawHole said...

My Mum had ovarian cancer and it got to the point when she was dying that I realised that death was the best way for her. She had no quality of life, was in hospital all the time and could not be cared for at home.
So, no, you are not that unusual.

Anonymous said...

Not my husband, but my Dad, who 'lived' for 18 months, unable to do more than breathe and digest liquid nutrition. In hindsight, for HIS sake, I would pray he died the night he got sick. It hurt like hell, but taught me so much. That he was cared for with love made it bearable. Caregivers need to mourn the illness, on top of the passing. It hits like a ton of bricks.
I think you would have stood by Tony's side and done right by him. I really do. Is it ok to feel relieved? As ok as wishing you had even a part of him to hold onto.

Shellye said...

I understand what you're saying. I wish none of it had happened, but I understand why you feel the way you feel...

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