Some of you knew I've been helping take care of my father-in-law who had terminal cancer and decided he wanted to die at home. Well, he died last night, and while I'm so glad this is over. I know that helping him throught this ordeal will help us deal with the next parts, dealing with the loss, helping his wife of 61 years go on without him.
Thankfully he was never in a lot of pain, but physical frailty made 24 hour care necessary for the past few months. The family took turns being there, even when there was a nurse or caregiver. It was the most tiring and difficult, and wonderful thing I've ever done.
You read about families dealing with this, with the decisions that have to be made, but you really don't understand unless you've been through it. He taught me a lot about dying. He showed us how to mend fences that had been broken for many years, how to keep your dignity in the face of full bedside care, and taught this family how to overcome their differences to work together for the love of someone.
I'm glad his (and our) ordeal is (almost) over, but it made me realize we all need to face this one day, and that I (we) have a lot of decisions to make now, while I (we) still can, that could potentially make my (our) loved ones lives a little easier when the time comes.
Make your wishes known to those who will make the decisions. Try to make the process of your dying a little easier for those who love you.