Life Support

I  start this post with both an apology and a disclaimer. The views and expressions within are my own, entirely, and other folk may have their own belief systems that are equally as relevant to them. I live my life within a humanist framework and believe we are all star stuff. And today I am struggling to articulate the impact of sudden grief.

You may have on occasion wondered what your reaction would be, if it were your responsibility to call time on a life. If the consultant placed the decision to remove life support squarely in your hands, there are so many shades of grey that could colour your reaction. Then you swiftly move away from such thoughts and hope that such a decision will never come to be your duty.

Today it became my decision. And there was no hesitation. No need to second guess the wishes of the patient, because he was my father and he had made his views and his fears about living a life of dependency very clear to me.

The consultant told me the diagnosis, the prognosis, the options.  Multi organ failure. A blood starved of oxygen for several hours. An old man, frail and with little chance of a meaningful recovery.

It was easy to turn the life support off.

It was not easy to then sit by your side and hold your hand until you died.

THAT should never be easy. But I was given the opportunity to say goodbye and to tell you I love you and that it was ok for you to go. To go and not suffer. I don’t know if you could hear me, but you slipped as gently and as peacefully away as any of us could wish to go. You were treated with dignity and love throughout the process, and you were with Paul and I, who love you.

The last time we spoke on Tuesday we each told the other we loved them, and in the end that is all we can ask for; to know that we are much loved.

Farewell to Trevor: raconteur; petrol head; publican; chemist; maverick father; terrible man-flirt; and occasional hell-raiser.

25th June 1937 – 13th February 2014

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2 thoughts on “Life Support

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. May he be welcomed with open arms into whatever afterlife he believed in.

    Thank you for this post. It must have been very difficult to write; I know it would have been for me. My mom and I have discussed this many times, and I know she wants exactly the same thing as your dad. I fully intend to honor her wishes, if and when the time comes that I need to do so. I only hope I can do it with as much grace and dignity as you did.

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