My grandma got married two weeks after she graduated from highschool. She was 17 years old. She and my grandpa had been married for 68 years when he passed away in 2007. She kept saying that she wished it had been her. She had never lived alone, never pumped her own gas, never even set an alarm clock.
Today she is still waiting to go.
She talks about it every time I visit, but it isn’t morbid.
It is truth.
She has had a good life, but she is tired now, her legs don’t work well, she misses my grandpa. I completely get it. As a family we all do, and we will do our best to let her live out her days in comfort and without procedures that would extend her life. I am not going to try to talk her out of her thoughts or tell her she still has so much to live for. Instead I tell her that I understand and that I will miss her, but I will be happy for her.
Is that wrong?
HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID:
‘I’M READY TO GO’
I don’t back away from these conversations about death. I want elderly people to be heard, especially in a system where oftentimes they aren’t. Just as I listen to my grandma tell me she is ready, I do the same with my patients on my occasional shifts at a local nursing home.
Recently I was talking with a kind gentleman in his eighties. His wife had been gone for a number of years and his children visited occasionally. He had more bad days than good in terms of health.
Then, he looked at me and said, “I’m ready to go.” He went on to say he missed his wife and many friends and that had gone before him. Just like my grandma.
When I told him that I understood you could hear the sigh of relief. He didn’t want to fight or have to defend himself. Nor did he want to hear the standard lines that often come from younger people as they dismiss death. He wanted to be heard.
When life has been experienced and a person is ready to go I don’t feel that death is defeat. It is a part of life.
Do you agree?
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