No matter who you are; rich, old, poor, happy, sad, young, famous, broke or otherwise, at some point you will very probably be faced with this; signing the consent form that says do not resuscitate for your parent/s.
Your brain will of course be telling you that this is The Right Thing, it is in fact The Only Thing to do. After all, if this were a beloved pet no way on God’s earth would you allow this sort of drawn out suffering, you would say one word, Enough.
Alas as humans we live with a code, the code of human rights. That right says that you cannot end the suffering of a loved human as you would that of a loved animal. Instead you must be patient, you must watch them die in front of you, just a wee bit more at a time.
But I digress, (as ever), back to the consent form. As you are signing this and the brain is leaping about telling you that it is The Right Thing, your heart is screaming like a demented banshee. Your heart has taken on the embodiment of a five year old child throwing a temper tantrum as the only way to be seen, to be heard. Your heart is yelling ‘No, don’t do it’, ‘she’s my Mum, of course she’ll get better’, ‘I love her, please God isn’t that enough to give her back life, real life’. Of course it is not, even love cannot do that.
You are the grownup here, you are no longer the pampered and protected child. You must do the protecting as best you can. You must put your mark on that paper, you must, in essence, sign someone else’s life away.
So I don’t care who you are, or where you are. Let me tell you right now, this will be the hardest thing you have ever done.
The heinous reality of Mum lying curled up in a hospital bed (by the way the same ward and hospital that my Dad died in a few years ago – and let me tell you what a jolt that was when my tired brain registered the surroundings, the view, the ward number – the earth shattering reality of it all, I wanted to run away) with tubes and indignity, and turns to ease old bones and paper thin fragile skin. I hold her tiny hand in mine and blather about Idgy, the animals, the weather, anything. She winces with pain at the holding, it is too much. She can barely talk, a mere whisper now and then. Old faded so, so, tired eyes watch you half shut – what are you seeing Mum, please see me.
They say she is Comfortable. Let’s not even go there.
I hold her in my arms, I want to crush life into her, give her mine.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
“Love you back”
Those three words mean the world to me. They were all she said.
I don’t know how long she has left. I am honest here so I shall say – I pray that the time is short and she lets go of this life and steps out with my father again.
My mobile is attached like an extra appendage waiting for the call.