Letting go

Discussion in 'Life After Caregiving' started by edj9, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. edj9

    edj9 Well-Known Member

    I lost my husband of 28 years Dec 2019 after a protracted struggle with multiple comorbidities. Towards the end, his mobility was severely hampered, his kidneys had failed, and he was in constant pain and discomfort. But his mind was lucid. One day, quite out of character, he said urgently that he wanted to go to the hospital. So I bundled him into the wheelchair van that we had bought just a couple of months before, and drove him to Marin General. The next day he had a massive coronary and was wheeled into the operating room. I thought that I would not see him again. But the doctor emerged and said that even though what they just tried didn’t work, they could try again later when he was stronger. So I thought that I would have a little more time with him.

    When I reached the recovery room, the doctor pulled me aside and told me that they didn’t think he would last the next 4 hours, and that I had to decide whether to put him on a ventilator. For the first time in my life, I nearly passed out. But in 5 minutes I weighed the outcomes: subject a clostrophobic Vietnam Vet to torturous intubation with the slim hope of keeping him alive for a few more days just so he could keep me company a bit longer, or to allow him to die peacefully, hopped up on morphine, thinking that he was coming home soon.

    Kind of a no-brainer.

    So I decided in that moment to let him go. So I told the doctor and nurses, and then went into spend my last moments with my one and only love, and put on a mask of cheer and optimism even though I had already died inside, and accompanied him on the last leg of his journey.

    Those moments will haunt me for the rest of my life. On the one hand, I feel blessed that I could give him a relatively trauma-free death. On the other, I feel like I killed him with my own two hands.

    If anyone has had a similar experience, I’d really appreciate your sharing.