Pulling the Plug

I’m waiting for someone to die.

Not in the literary sense, but in the tragic real world way things happen. My sister is on life support right now. She made a series of bad decisions that lead her to be brain-dead in the hospital being kept alive by machinery.

As I wait for the switch to flip, I look at my life and work through my emotions. Anger, sadness, regret, and guilt are having a cage match in my psyche. The echo of what might have been is strong right now. I don’t want to get caught in the waves of the past.

I want to believe that she’ll be going to a better place. I’m not sure that I do. The scientist in me thinks that she’s just ceases to exist. Her particular uniqueness gone forever. Leaving behind a puzzle. What was missing that made these choices seem like good choices? What really happened? The only person who might be able to tell us, if she even knew, is no longer able to tell us anything.

I have landed on two ways to make her death meaningful in my life.

First, I will do what I can, even using her as an example, so my kids make different choices.

Second, my sister will be a character in a book. It will not be a FaceBook post sort of character, but as real and true as I can make her.

She would’ve liked that.

What have you done when dealing with a death?

5 thoughts on “Pulling the Plug

  1. It sounds like a sad situation and I feel sympathy for your (and her) loss,

    Death is a separation and separations we don’t choose (and often the ones we do) are always sad.

    The only solace I’ve found is the certainty that the manner varies, but that trip is booked for all of us and our time in the sun is brief and over too soon regardless of its length or degree of justice – especially for some. You can get mad or sad or philosophical or just turn up the volume on the radio and it changes nothing.

    But it’s also the way things should be – all of us replaced someone who probably would have liked to stay a little longer, and someone will replace us regardless of how we feel about the matter.

    That said, I think the motto should be – trust in the Lord but wear your seat belt. You spent nearly the entire history of the universe as nothing but dust and shouldn’t be in a hurry to return.

    If the other person felt loved by you, and knew that you knew it too, and that knowledge was a comfort to them, that’s about the best we can do in this life.

  2. When I lived in London I didn’t know about birth or death… maybe I had no friends who were either pregnant or old. My grandma, grandpa, and great aunt died, but I was quite young and their deaths seemed to wash over me without stirring anything. Sometimes I’d imagine my grandmother and she’d be at peace and smiling, whereas contrary wise in her later years she’d been racked with pain and discomfort.
    I’ve moved to a small village in Spain and now I see, and feel, birth and death all the time. The revolution of inhabitants in the world that come and go… that illicit grief and joy.
    The deaths are mostly expected but tear those of us that remain here apart, but for them it’s a release, an inevitable ending.
    I like to imagine there’s life after death in the spiritual sense, though mostly everyone I know disagrees, but if I picture the dead I know, for the most part they are happy and smiling. What a horror if someone dies unexpectedly, young, and violently, here I sense a feeling of shock and puzzlement. Very sadly though your sister has died I guess there was at least a short recognition that it was impending.
    I think death is often worse for those of us that are alive.

    • Thank you. There was a short period. I do hope that she is happy and with other family members who have passed. I think the worst part is the questions the dead leave in their wake.

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