erin and i were talking about death today..specifically in relation to jesse. it's close but not yet his time. and i have had the same conversation this week about owen and crippled max too.
my life revolves around illness, disability and end of life issues...in both my nursing career and rescue. and because of this my view of aging, illness, disability and death is most likely different than the average healthy and hearty person's.
life and death are not electrical switches, flipped on and off at will. both life and death are a multitude of interrelated and interdependent processes...physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
in any unwellness of health, in any disability, in any extreme old age...normal simple tasks of living, become more challenging. its normal, it is expected. sometimes it is hard to observe and it certainly is hard to live. and it is universal for both humans and animals...reaching the end of lifes long and hard road when the body is fragile, worn out and frail is difficult.
but all of us..human and animal have learned in our lifetimes to rise to the challenges that life presents us...we fight thru, we soldier on and as we become aged or disabled, we learn to compensate to get along.
we don't give up easily..that spirit inside us clings tightly to the magical spark of life...few of us will thoughtlessly just toss our life away. we know that once that life switch is flicked off, it is flicked off forever ...there is no second chance or changing our minds...death is the only thing in life that is permanent.
sometimes it takes a great deal of strength to watch those we love fade away but they are entitled to that fading out journey so when their death actually comes...they are heart, mind, body and soul ready...their spirit is ready to fly free.
i do not worry so much any more about the actual moments of death..i worry more about the journey they respectfully be allowed to take. we can, will and do ease their final passing, but the journey to reach the gate of passing, is theirs to take, it does not belong to me.
we can help them by providing the meds to keep them comfortable, adjusting their environments for ease of their use and safety...we can add companionship and interesting variety to their living but we can't take their journey away from them, they haven't said they are done yet.
we cannot stop or hurry death, but we can use our hearts, minds and heads to ensure these end of life journeys are cared for and supported as best as we can.it is beyond any human's power to make the end of life perfectly grand. but as long as someone wants to keep living, we can in gentle kindness walk with them and when needed, reach out to hold their hand.