Wednesday, June 1, 2011

O is for Options

When a loved one is ill you are faced with numerous options. One set of options is in regards to the patient's care. Some people are fortunate enough to have filled out and discussed living wills. Others are forced to try to guess what the person would want.

Even within those living will options there are numerous options. With my father's health, we were faced with a bunch of those unpleasant options yesterday. Basically our options entailed how are we going to let our father die. None of them are the option we want. We want our father to live. We want him to live and be with us. We want to talk to him and touch him and love him in person. But those are no longer options for us.

We were fortunate that our parents at least had created a living will, which has been truly beneficial as we make all of our decisions. We can do what Dad would want. We can honor his wishes and his legacy, even though it hurts us. When he finally passes within the next several days, we can be at peace knowing that we did the right thing.

Other options include how we react to the situation. Everyone reacts differently, and I will only focus on myself right now. People have asked me how I can be so strong through all of these ups and downs. I keep replying that I don't have a choice. But my very wise aunt pointed out that I do have a choice. I could have chosen to abandon my family and pretended that nothing was wrong. I could have avoided spending time with my father in these last several weeks and simply remembered him the way he was before this traumatic event.

To me, though, there have been no other options than to spend as much time with him as I can. I did miss three weeks while I wrapped up some things at school, but they are a blur. Otherwise, I have gone up to spend time with my father for a couple of hours every day. I have had the chance to say "I love you," and for him to mouth it back. He has also shown it to me in many other ways, and I will cherish every single second that I have left with him. He is the most important person in my life.

My other option has been to be strong. Granted, these last few days as the end has become obvious, I have been melting into a snotty pool of tears much more frequently. But I still choose to keep on keeping on, putting one foot in front of the other. I will take each moment as it comes. I choose to not have any regrets (and truly do not feel any at this time, when people often do). And life will go on.

As my cousin said to me earlier tonight, "Life sucks at times, but you have to just plow through it."

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