My mother was seemingly very healthy, mentally sharp and a lovingly beautiful 78 when she had a severe stroke. It started out as simply a strange feeling of dizziness and keep increasing to eventual loss of consciousness. I lived a few hundred miles away when I got the call that she was being rushed to the hospital. By the time I got there she was in a coma. I was her first born son and three sisters followed. We sat in the waiting room for two or three days hanging on every word from the doctors as we frequently visited her seemingly lifeless body with only tubes sustaining it. The word never got any better and finally the doctors said, they did not see any hope of recovery and did not see any possible reason for continuing life support. My sisters and I struggled with the decision. I shared with them that I felt sure our mother had already passed and that we were only keeping a physical object functioning without any consciousness or life of it’s own. They agreed to accept my decision. It was a very lonely one. I went to her bedside, took her hand in mine and told the nurse to cut the machines. The heart continued for probably 15 or 20 minutes until the nurse finally said, “she is gone”. I released her hand, placed mine on her forehead and as tears streamed down my face, said “goodbye for now my beloved mother”. The thought went through my mind, how ironic and contemplative that I am saying a loving goodbye to the one who said a loving hello to a wet scrawny infant well over a half century ago. Surely it must be about love.
It is a tough decision many people have to make with today’s technology but I have never really doubted it.