i can't really speak for the rest of the volunteers or the staff...but i think, they like me, understand that what we do here is alot about death. washington, darla, charlie, nola and sanjaya...i am ok that they are gone. i loved them, i miss them but...our job was to ensure they were happy til they died. now...nola and charlie, i have some questions for myself...like why did i assume certain things so that their deaths were a surprize? why was my head stuck on nola's fatty lipomas instead of considering that maybe there was something else causing her pain? why did i just see charlie's eye injury and not take it one step further..did charlie maybe fall from progressing weakness and that was how he hurt his eye?
almost exclusively these guys are very old and/or seriously ill, i know they are all close to the end of their roads and i am ok with that. i just want to know that i did not in any way contribute to their cause of death, like missing something treatable until it is too late. and i don't always know that cuz god did not give me all knowing sight, all he gave me was a decent ability to look at things honestly.
it is not so much that i beat myself up if someone dies that i don't expect...but i have to critically look at it to ensure it was just their time and not unintentional neglect. i am not going to tell you that i have not missed stuff along the way...maybe someone stops eating for a day or two , i didn't notice and jump on it right away. someone might start slowing down and i miss the initial signs that an infection is brewing before the obvious is staring me in the face.
this is part and parcel of caring and being responsible for so many different indiviuduals here. and i do get tired, busy and occasionally miss stuff, esp. if there is alot of extra drama and emotional angst flying around here. it is one of the main reasons i get so enraged with people start messing around and causing trouble for ego sakes. they are stealing from the animals, they are putting them at risk because by making my life even more difficult to fulfil their petty human needs, they take some of what i have for the animals and that puts them at risk. it is never about the animals, it is about getting something they need.
so washington, i am ok with...he came in as an ancient cat with a chronic URI...he was slowing down and fading lately and reached the end of his life. i was comfortab;e with how he was acting, the night before he died because i actually had time and energy and even opportunity that night to see him and feel that he was doing just fine.
they don't have to send me a prior notice to let me know they are ready to die. part of living and dying is an inevitable progression that happens at it's own speed. i just need to feel that i "see and feel" them correctly and wasn't just too distracted or upset or busy to notice that at some stupidly lost moment, they really needed me.
the crushing stress here at saints is not from the animals...it comes from outside of us and it comes from me. i don't have the skills to deal with the human stuff. i don't know how to just shut it all out. and it is my biggest limitation that interfers with the work we do here.
so here is the thing...their ultimate deaths are the natural end of the work we do...and i think we all get and accept this and as long as we met our goals and they enjoyed their life while they were here, they were respectfully cared for in a way that they would choose, and their inevitable final endings are peaceful and gentle.
but...i don't do well with the nola's, where i am totally off the mark, i don't do well with the clyde's where the ultimate choice is mine, and i don't do well with the swinger's when a mistake of mine may or may not have impacted his life.
that is the reality of end of life care...by the grace of god..these guys are swinging on the saints trapeze...one day it is fun for all of us but one day it ends. did the rope fray? did someone cut it with a knife? did they just get tired and let go?
that is what i have to figure out, each and every time.