Why hasn’t he died yet?
The doctor said she’d die days ago.
Mom is ready for heaven; why is she still here?
I love my husband, but hate that his suffering continues.
Hundreds of versions of the statements above are muttered and shouted by the hundreds of lovers, friends, family members, and caregivers that—right now—sit vigil with a dying loved one.
And “sit vigil” may seem too polite a phrase for those waiting-waiting-waiting for a long overdue death. Pacing a room, sleeplessness, exhaustion, short tempers, frayed nerves, and constantly postponing work and family obligations were never anticipated when a beloved’s dying became an unwanted, unbidden part of your future.
The person we love, who we once wished would never die, is now lingering. Before, we made every effort not to think about death. Death was too morbid. Death happened to someone else. Death was a game with colleagues wagering that if one “celebrity” has died, then more high-profile deaths would soon happen (“They always come in threes!”). Death was the rabbi or priest or imam or pastor’s sermon about an ancient saint or sinner. Death wasn’t so bad in a movie with a soundtrack that prompted tears while munching popcorn. Death was horrific because of a car accident, a malicious bullet, or a soul-numbing suicide . . . but it was all over quickly and terribly.
But your loved one lingers.
Why? Why? Why? Read More →by