Simply danLrene's Opinion

Work Your Dream

Allowing Loved Ones The Right To Quit

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“Am I pushing you so hard for me to feel better or am I pushing because it is the best thing for you?”

One of the hardest things for people to do is to let go of their loved ones and I see people fight this all the time. They push their loved one  and push them to go through treatments, etc because they do not want to lose them and yet, they are unable to stop and see that the person going through these treatments, etc is suffering and in pain.  And many lose that special quality time because they are fighting so hard to keep their loved one from dying and pushing their loved one to go through painful treatments, etc that make them sick and so their quality of life is diminished. I am going through treatment right now but my son knows that the minute it ceases to show it is helping me in a good way..then I am stopping.

We have no control button on when we or someone dies. It is one of the mysteries of the universe and when our time comes…it comes. But we do have control on whether we make those last times with our loved ones better or not by how we choose to treat them. I wonder if people ever consider that perhaps the person who does not want treatment or a certain procedure is not giving up on fighting and it has nothing to do with their strength or stamina but has to do with the fact that it is too painful and exhausting, and the side effects make them too sick so they cannot enjoy their family. Maybe it is because they just are too tired to fight anymore and are willing to let what comes next happen. Sometimes we have to think about the person we are pushing and what is best for them and not necessarily what feels the most comfortable for us.

My dear friend Audrey carried me around via the phone through her treatment and we talked all the time as she talked of her fears, how she felt about this or that and what treatments were coming up and her family. One day she called me and said “I am just so tired. I do not want to fight anymore. I cannot take it anymore. I am ready to just let God do what God is going to do and I want to stop treatment.” I asked her had she told her family and her response was no, she had not. She said that every time she tried to bring it up,  her family would push her and argue her down to make her keep taking treatment. She cried to me that day because she had truly been through all she could endure and she was tired of all the treatments and things being done to her.  I told her that she could stop any time she wanted and to just do it. She asked me to be on the phone with her when she told her family.

No person should have to be forced to say “No more please.” But it happens all the time and it is because family and loved ones let their emotions override what the person that is sick is going through.  It is hard when we love someone so much to not want to push them for every treatment possible to keep them with us, but this takes us back to the original question of “Am I pushing you so hard for me to feel better or am I pushing because it is the best thing for you?” When Audrey told her family, a few started in pushing again and I could hear their fear of losing her even over the phone. But the pushing caused Audrey to get very emotional and teary and then she almost just shut down because she could not fight all she was being made to go through and fight them too.

I told her to tell her family to listen to her for a minute and to explain why she no longer wanted to do it. After a few tries she was able to tell them how much pain she was in and how tired she was and that she did not want to spend the last part of her life with this much pain and sickness.  One or two still did not want her to quit even with such a plea of not being able to take being tortured anymore. I told Audrey to tell them that it was her decision and she was sorry they could not support her but that she loved them and she WAS stopping treatment. At first some were angry with her. That is hard to fathom that loved ones would get mad because you could not take the pain and suffering anymore but it is a denial in them. They are not bad…just cannot face the reality of what is happening to their loved one. It turned out to be the best thing for her. She did not live but a few weeks longer and at least she was able to enjoy her children and family where she could not while taking treatment and being so sick and in such pain.

I used to work with people who were dying and helped them talk to their families and it is such a hard situation. I would remind the families that their loved one knew what they could and could not handle anymore and that they needed to allow their loved one to make their own decisions and to live with dignity. Most, after a bit of time, would listen and though would cry…they understood that pushing their family member through all these treatments and things was not the right thing to do for their loved one. They had to get past the “Well, she or he is just giving up.”  and accept that their loved one was not giving up but had gone through all they could endure and the humane thing was to allow their loved one to do what they wanted …which was stop being subjected to all the treatments, etc.

It really is not a matter of giving up or not fighting. I think most people would agree that they would not want to be subjected to such pain and exhaustive measures day in and day out and know it was not making any real difference. But, that denial part comes out and loved ones feel they have the right to decide for the sick person. If someone did it for them, they would not be happy. My feeling is that I would rather have two weeks of decent time with my loved one than three months of them being in such agony and pain and sick and alone. And I believe there comes a point when we love someone that we have to love them enough to let them go and let them choose how they leave here.

March 7, 2014 - Posted by | All | , , , , , , ,

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