Dead or Alive
As an observant Jew, life is most precious. Even Jewish laws are allowed to be broken if it has the potential to save a life.
So as one who struggles with depression and with the caregiving of my Dad, I often ponder about the quality of life.
My dad wants to die. He has openly expressed that and repeats it often.
He makes his choices on how to live his life and I can understand why he feels this way. He is a DNR.
Since my mother’s death almost 10 years ago, he really did not want to live without her and my brother and I expected he would die shortly after her death. And even though that was his wish, he manages to stay alive much to his frustration.
Dad is in a Nursing home, he has Parkinson’s and diabetic neuropathy. He is 88.
My dad chooses to spend the majority of his day in his room. He walks to breakfast and lunch and uses his wheelchair to transport himself to dinner. He does not attend any programs or activities. He mostly watches TV and sleeps.
My visits and his interactions with the staff and his phone calls to his sisters and my brother are the only human interactions he has. His only outings are to his doctor appointments.
Since I struggle with depression, I know what it is like to make one’s world so small. And yes, I know he is probably depressed but he chooses not to take any medication for it. He reluctantly sees a therapist.
So what is the quality of his life? He will tell you he exists. Not much more. He looks forward to my visits. He will also tell you that he prays every night that he does not wake up in the morning and every morning he is disappointed.
I have begun to ask myself should I be praying for him to die? It is a horrible thought. But yet this is what he wants. I love him dearly and over the past three years we have sorted out many of our issues, though there are always more to work on. If he were to die tomorrow, I would miss him but I think I would accept that he is in a better place.
I wish he would choose to live a life beyond existing. Then again I wish that for myself, too. For me I am doing better then him in that I go to yoga, I walk my dog, I interact with my spouse and neighbors and friends and family. My outings consist of going to therapy, visiting Dad, seeing friends, food shopping. I watch TV and read. I cook, clean, and do laundry.
Do I have a better quality of life then my Dad? I would say it is better but it is far from ideal.
So Dad wants to die, and I want to find a better way to live.
- Depression and Caregiving (caregiving.com)
- End-of-Life Wishes: Joining a Conversation that Already Happens (caregiving.com)
- Fighting Depression During Caregiving (caregiving.com)
- Focus (caregiving.com)
- Precious Moments (caregiving.com)
- Who Speaks for the Speechless? (caregiving.com)
- Depression Almost Won Today (caregiving.com)
- Help to Find Quality Care (caregiving.com)
- Why End-of-Life Conversations Matter (caregiving.com)