No trolling. All I ask in addition is that you think before you post, and don't respond if you haven't read everything.
At approximately 12:00 Noon on Friday (1/04/08) my grandmother passed away while in a local hospital, being prepared for a procedure. She had been fighting cancer of the bladder, and while her death was sudden, it came at a time when her struggle for life was going to become painful. We are waiting for my uncle/aunt to fly in from Australia to hold the funeral, and so it will be held graveside on Wednesday.
The reason why I mention this is not because I feel the need for people to provide me with support. This loss is not that painful since my grandmother has lost most of her awareness over the last year or so (she was almost 92) and we've had time to prepare for it. My interest is more in considering the way everyone has been handling this.
For the last year, my father had hired an aid to live with my grandmother full time to take care of her. This aid was much less expensive than any professional service, yet was much better. She actually cared about the well being of my grandmother and took good care of her. This saved my father a lot of trouble since he normally would make only one weekly trip into my grandmother's city to take care of payments and such. Still, my father was on call every time there was a problem, and he often had to run over to take care of legal and health concerns. As previously mentioned, my uncle did not participate in most of these inconveniences since he's been living overseas for decades.
When the passing came, my father seemed more relieved than anything else. This seems to be for two reasons. One is that my grandmother was being prepared for her second procedure that would have begun a painful physical demise which was coming only a year after her mental demise. The other is that his life is ultimately going to be less chaotic as he won't have to constantly take care of her financial, legal, and health issues anymore, save a month or two of follow up work (selling apartment, estate distribution, funeral, etc). This seems to be the overriding view of most people involved. Her death came at a good time. Had she lived longer, it would have been hard on everyone, especially herself.
I thought about the way our society generally treats the viewpoint that people with nothing left except for pain should be allowed an artificial death. It's generally not okay to pull the plug on your grandmother's life support device. So when she lets go of her own accord, should we celebrate that she saved everyone the trouble? Is it okay to feel relieved?
This is my first family loss since I was a little boy, so things haven't been sinking in for the most part. I've been mostly detached from the whole situation, but that's probably what has given me the opportunity to think about this moral dilemma. I'm trying to get my work done in preparation for the upcoming week as I'm planning on attending all days save Wednesday. I usually procrastinate, but this week I feel like I'm running late because I'm using this passing as an excuse. I'm hoping when I look back on this weekend I'll better be able to understand how much this loss has been affecting me.
Haste. Exalted. Flying. Deathtouch. Lifelink. Protection from Red.
But the Hamiltonian wasn't Hermitian!
DeadVessel United States. January 07 2008 05:07. Posts 6269
What I always find strange in situations like this is when doctors and observers view 'putting down' someone in your Grandmother's situation as an 'artificial death'. In reality, had she been left to bare the burdens of her poor health sans medical intervention, she would have likely died long ago. When someone requires this level of care on an around-the-clock basis, I feel it's more appropriate to label what they have as an 'artificial life'.
Besides the sad loss of a beloved family member, there is absolutely no tragedy involved in a scenario like this. Death without the element of tragedy is something we should all accept and be grateful for. The death of a child is a tragedy we should not accept. The death of a young family man in his prime is a tragedy we should not accept. But this is a person who lived a long life and death became the next logical step. We should all be so lucky. I suppose the sad part is that she experienced such physical and mental decline in her later years. But that's our fault - the fault of a society that labels 'life' as something with a heartbeat, rather than actually being alive.
I feel safe in assuming your Grandmother had a decent life. She lived long enough to see her kids grow old and start families of their own. She lived long enough to see her grandkids grow up and mature. I'm sure that's enough for her as it would be for any of us. I think it really is a good thing that what was a good life wasn't bookended by more misery and suffering.
"Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes" - Abraham Lincoln
Type|NarutO Germany. January 07 2008 05:36. Posts 15242
first of all I'm sorry to hear that you lost a family member. Its not shame be relieved. She was very old and she had a life with alot of experiences. My father told me: Don't cry if I die, its part of life and I enjoyed my life. I don't regret a single move.
You should be happy that she died without pain (I guess). Not that I wish somebody should die, but sometimes its better. Better not to struggle. Keep your head up.
I lost my great grandmother this summer past. She was 83. I went to the funeral, followed the traditions she viewed for a funeral (a mix of Russian Orthodox ceremony and Armenian/Georgian dining afterwards in a form of a post-funeral meeting). As for ways of handling it, I have to say that death is a part of life, and more likely than not she was prepared to leave this world, and probably somewhat looking forward to a release from the pain you described. This means that you can rejoice internally that she has come to the destination we are all headed to - she has lived a long and fruitful life with children, grand children, etc. However, I'd rephrase "So when she lets go of her own accord, should we celebrate that she saved everyone the trouble? Is it okay to feel relieved?" and eliminate the "saved everyone the trouble?" part, because although monetarily and emotionally it would have been a burden, you must also know that anyone who is truly family would have gone through with any form of help for her gladly. I'd phrase it as "she saved herself the trouble," and yes, I believe that it is alright to feel relieved, but on her behalf, not your own.
Mourn for as long as you feel necessary, and move on as quickly as your heart lets you. All that will be left is pleasant memories, and the painful ones will seem insignificant in comparison. That is if you were somewhat close at all - if not, then let this just be an objective lesson of sorts. Sorry to hear that you have lost a family member, but I hope you handle it as well as you seem to be doing already. Good luck and rest in peace to your grandmother.
BottleAbuser Korea (South). January 07 2008 10:38. Posts 1873