I Provide Comfort; I Leave the Rest to God


I Provide Comfort; I Leave the Rest to God

pillow-232116_640When I watched my brother's and sisters' children when they were young, I really focused on keeping their children alive during my care. They presented me two or three adorable little beings to watch, relying on me to keep them safe and entertained. When my siblings returned from their outings, I made sure to present to them their children, perhaps with a few bandaids, but always in as good as shape as I received.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about my responsibility as I take care of my dad. Over the years, I've heard family caregivers say, "It's my job to keep my caree alive." One family caregiver once told me, "I'm going to wring every ounce of life out of my caree."

That last statement, in particular, made me wince.

As I step into the healthcare system with my parents, I have a greater idea of what living can mean. Sometimes, the health care system improves quality of life. But as my parents age and decline, I can see first-hand how hard the healthcare system makes living. Keeping my parents in the system certainly could extend their length of life but at what price?

If I were to "wring life" out of an my parents, then I keep them in a system. They'll be in the hospital, in doctors' offices, with strangers. I can choose a different way that brings meaning to their days by keeping them in the family.

As I began to think about this question, "What am I here to do for my parents?", I looked to what I can do and what I can let God do. I can make my parents as comfortable as possible. I can let God determine how long my parents stay here with us.

If I think of myself as the person who keeps my parents alive, I'm going to fail at some point. They will die. Why would I set myself up for that kind of failure? If I make decisions based on what brings them comfort, I will be successful.

I looked at my dad's durable power of attorney for health care this weekend. In it, he gives us permission to make a decision on his behalf about future treatments, keeping in mind his comfort, the treatment's cost and his prognosis. The wording gives me comfort.

So, just a few weeks ago, I decided I'll focus on the comfort and let God decide on the timing.

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