Waiting for Grandma to Die

I waited 10 days for my daughter. She must have been so cozy and comfortable in that watery sac. Doctors told me they would step in and handle things if it got to be two weeks. Luckily, it didn’t. But when she made her way into the world with my help, she was as scared as you could be, and angry too.

Now we’re waiting for Grandma to die. This time there is no deadline; no talk of inducing death. Instead the emphasis is on comfort, which is key.

In this society we think about death as a quick thing. You are alive, and the next minute you’re dead. Or maybe we want to see it that way, because then we don’t have to think about/deal with the dying process. But, like birth, most times it doesn’t happen in an instant. It is an extended process, painful and beautiful and everything in between.  It almost always defies expectations. It is a human process, afterall.

I think of Grandma as actively easing-out of her world. Doctors could step in and make it more immediate. Would she want that?

I wonder how the numbers compare (inductions of birth vs death)? In Oregon, where you can legally opt for “death with dignity” only 400 have done so since 1994. Many more have ordered the lethal medication and then have opted not to use it.

Like my daughter, Grandma has been supported and comfortable in her world. Why be in a hurry to leave?

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Meika Loe

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