As our journey continues, the teachings never stop. Patience, gratitude, strength… so many lessons. And now, one of the most difficult – unselfishness.
A Final Wish for Comfort and Peace
My mom took care to very explicitly document her wishes in a living will. She left no question that she wanted comfort care only, including the withholding or withdrawing of artificially or technologically supplied nutrition and hydration. Tonight, I pulled out the documents to re-read them; I’m not sure why. With or without the piece of paper, I know full well what she wanted. This ordeal has already carried on for years and years longer than she would have wished…
Still, being at Kobacker House, our inpatient hospice, is a contradiction of sorts. It’s a medical facility, complete with doctors and nurses, yet this is not a place where they fix things. There are no IV bags or tubes. No electronic monitors flashing and beeping or lab technicians coming and going at all hours. We’re taught that doctors heal. Ah, but not always.
These doctors, nurses, and aides are here to ensure comfort. Warm, gentle baths and lavender lotion. Holding a hand, fluffing a pillow, a pretty pink nightgown, freshly laundered. And lorazepam and morphine when pain, anxiety, and agitation take over.
Honoring Her Wishes
Human nature makes me want to ring the nurse and have her hang a bag of IV fluids, just in case it might make a difference. And that’s where the lesson in unselfishness begins. No matter what, the most important thing right now is respecting my mom’s wishes. She made those decisions when she was of sound mind and body, and she knew exactly what she wanted.
For me to deny her final wish for a peaceful departure from this world, free of the things that would prolong her discomfort, would be the ultimate act of selfishness. It’s not giving up, it’s honoring her wishes. God will take her when He is ready. Her angel wings await… it’s just a matter of time now…