Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying when you are dealing with a loved one who is confused or dying. Being an adult and watching my father live out his last days on hospice is truly a challenge, but one I accept whole-heartedly and without any remorse. I couldn’t imagine not being here and helping his wife care for him, although I know this is not for everyone, and that is understandable.
Anyway, as the confusion sets in at night and I listen to the things he is saying, I try to make sense of them. I wonder, at times, if the old wives’ tale that "your life passes before your eyes before you die," could have come about due to someone’s confusion and the things they were saying. Were they memories that they were reliving in their mind or even a past event that rang true for the person hearing them, and that is how that saying came to be?
I have had the opportunity to talk to my father about family and things that I needed or wanted clarified, and stories I wanted him to tell me about when I was growing up. I have even gotten him on video a couple times. I have his voice preserved for me to listen to when I’m feeling down.
I know that everything has to end. But I also know that it doesn’t matter how much time passes because some things, some memories, will never fade away. Death is a curious thing. It is part of life, as odd as it sounds. It is always a surprise when it happens, even if it is expected. We all know we are getting older. As our grandparents die and as we have kids, we graduate from the younger generation and become part of the middle generation, and as our parents die, we then become the older generation. It is the circle of life, and it is also death. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, "Death isn't to be feared. We were dead billions of years before we were alive and suffered no inconvenience from it." I guess that means we shouldn’t fear death, ours or anyone else’s.
Death finds us all eventually. But for now, it is my hope that when my father passes, it is peaceful for him. Knowing I have done what I can to make his last days as good as possible, I will have find peace and have no regrets.
Written By: Care Manager - Dixie Qualls, RN, BSN