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This is too deep and hard as heck to deal with.

My friend's husband, a minister, has been very ill for a while. He's had three triple by-passes, He's on dialysis and has his leg aputated to the knee, and, last week above the knee.

Now, they want to amputate a few toes on the other lower extremity.

He says, "NO MORE." Enough is Enough. Let me Go. So, now he has declined all treatment including the dialysis. He's been given less than a week to live.

I've just talked with my friend. I'm planning to meet her at the hospital tomorrow. What to do? What do I say?

Geesh, I know I have to pray with them. But, I know I can't start it with, "Thank You Lord for all You do."

Somebody point me in the right direction.

"Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet
when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
"Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
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You know, that's a very difficult situation. I really appreciate that you've shared that with us. I'll offer my perspective.

I really believe that everything that happens in life is God's will. Even things that outwardly would appear to be bad, painful, even "evil", are in fact a result of God's will and grace. The challenge is for us to seek to understand the meaning and messages to us in those events.

When I was 11, I lost my only little brother who was 4. That was an extraordinarily tragic and painful event. To this day, 29 years later, I still feel the tremendous void in my life from his absence. Nevertheless I believe it was God's will for that to happen. I may still not have learned all of the lessons from that, but my mind is open. I strive to learn and to grow. I seek to understand God's lessons for me. I pray for wisdom and perseverance. I also have faith that everything that God puts in front of me is for a reason and is perfect for me.

So I think you can start your prayer with thanks to God, and perhaps a request for understanding and strength. Maybe it can provide some comfort to remember that God loves you and that however painful or confusing things may be at the moment, that He has your best interest at heart. That's my $ .02. My prayers are with you all there.

Onward and Upward!

[This message was edited by MBM on August 29, 2002 at 09:14 PM.]
Dear Earth263:

I wish I could give you some strength right now. This is an area where I have had quite some experience as I've been an RN in a central city hospital for nearly 20 years.

1) Respect the patient's decision. To no longer seek medical treatment after all he has been through is valid. There is much more I could say on this, but you can always email me.

2) Understand that his family and loved ones are probably going to be in different stages of acceptance of his decision.

3) Love them all, because they have not changed, only their present circumstances have.

You don't have to talk about his lack of dialysis or any of the medical stuff. Just be yourself, for they love you for who you are. Bring ordinary news of the outside world. Ordinary is good, for it lends stability and a sense of continuation. Tell him you love him. Let him know what impact he or his family has had directly on your life. Share your favorite memory with him, especially if it's funny. Several opening lines can be:

"Do you know that I always admired it when you _______"

"Do you know that if it weren't for you/or family I would not have__________"

"Do you remember the time when_______" You've got room to find a good story here, especially if you can make him look like a hero. Maybe you and your friend did something not so bright and he bailed you out??? Sometimes laughter is the best medicine, but certainly consider the individual moment when you get there. Using humor in these situations can be very reassuring. It breaks tension, helps make the situation more ordinary and shows that you are comfortable with them even in this very difficult days.

If you have a moment alone with him and if you feel comfortable with this, ask him if there is anything you can do for him. Kneel down at the edge of the bed or his chair and look him straight in the eye when you do it. "Is there something that I can do for you, something you have left undone?" is the phrase I have used. Sometimes there is nothing, but other times there is a simple request.

If all else fails, hugs work.

Regardless of what you do, just being there shows you for the true friend you are. They know that. Being there for the long haul means the world.

Take a deep breath and relax before you walk through those doors. They're still the same people you love. God bless you for being a faithful friend!

PS Email me if you want to talk.

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
You a nice lady big grin

MBM, thanks for sharing, death is such a difficult thing to deal with.

Earth263, don't feel like you must say something to MAKE your friend feel better. Hold her hand, give her hugs, let her cry on your shoulder, give her privacy when she wants it, check in on her, whatever you say it does not have to be a lot of words, just be there for her and don't feel awkard because of the silence, you also express your sympathy with silence, don't feel you must make something happen. Your presence and modest observance will be appreciated.
His life belongs to him and him alone. If he decides to depart this mortal coil by refusing treatment (which may be painful or ineffective, considering his condition) then that decision belongs only to him.

Your duty is to accept that decision and console both him and his survivors. Sit at his bedside before he dies and tell him you understand, and that he's been a terrific friend whom you will miss mightily, and hope to see again someday.

As to his next-of-kin, the same goes. Dying is a private business, and the decisions come deep within us. You can offer all the support you choose, but I assure you, however well-intentioned your advice on the siuation might be (and I am certain it is) it is unwelcome.

My condolences to you. If you feel the need, most hospices (It's a yellow pages heading) offer grief counseling for free.
Originally posted by Earth263:
I've just talked with my friend. I'm planning to meet her at the hospital tomorrow. What to do? What do I say?

By now, you've already had this meeting, or are in the midst of it.

When you're ready, I hope you'll come back and let us know how things went, or at least ask if you need any further advice. My thoughts are with all of you.
Thanks JuneBug, you caught me on a good day. Most days, I'm just a work in progress. wink

Earth263, you can begin almost any prayer by "giving thanks for the friends with us today and the time we have together. Thank you for giving us the example of your Son, who taught us how to best love one another. Thank you for the strength you have given us and be with us in the days to come."

I am sorry I overlooked this in the first reading of your post. Please let us know how this is coming along.

BTW: Hospice programs also do the very best job at managing end-of-life care with dignity, respect and excellent pain/symptom management.

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
Bob Dillon

I appreciate your sharing of past experiences, whether on a personal level as MBM to those who deal with this type of situation professionally and on an on-going basis. You all offered up very good advice, a lot which was centered upon our Dear Lord and Savior, where I'm firmly grounded.

Others reflected on the rights of the man and his dignity. All wonderful advise.

Sadly, I did not get a chance to see my friend one last time. He made his transition by the time I got off work, weathered traffic and got to the hospital.

I did, however, go over to the home and sat with my friend (the wife) We talked about him, we talked about old work buddies, and we sometimes, simply sat in silence. Othertimes, I simply listened to the family members as they fondly remember the Pastor and some of his sermons.

This evening was truly a warm rich experience -- one that solidifies how we have to let go and let God.

"Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet
when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
Earth263, I am sorry for your loss. I am glad you had the time with your friend's widow. Death is one of those things that we don't do well in America. Like birth, it is one of the most profound yet common of experiences. Yes, there is sadness there but there are other deep emotions: love, friendship, relief and for those of us who believe in our Lord, there is joy and hope for all eternity. I don't know about you, but life without great joy (and great loss) sounds a little too flat, safe and boring for me.

Your friend was a wise man. There are many things worse than death. Knowing that we have the technology to stay alive by progressively chopping off bits and pieces of ourselves while connected to life support doesn't mean we have to do it. God gave us the ability to develop many marvelous things, but how we use them is why He gave us a heart, a brain and prayer. To choose to no longer pursue treatment is fine.

I wish you peace and strength in the days ahead.

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
that this particular death is a private decision. This man was a pastor. For him to give up fighting and become resigned to death when dialysis and surgery were available to extend his life is telling. This man apparently suffered from a deep sense of depression and needed spiritual counseling. To refuse dialysis is to committ suicide. that is not brave or heroic.

But I do send up prayers and positive vibes for you, the deceased, and his family.
But I do send up prayers and positive vibes for you, the deceased, and his family.
As do I.

Thank you for your comments and opinions. Care for loved ones at the end of life is a discussion that needs to happen in every family. It's something that we should be more aware of in general. But out of respect for Earth263 and her friends, perhaps we should start a separate thread for this?

"Unless you're sharing what you have, you don't have as much as you think you do."
Herdswoman, thanks for you compassion. It's greatly appreciated.

I've reflected on poster's precept of Reverend, saying, "No more, Let me go." To me, it was his way of stating that he was alright with his relationship with the Lord, that he has tolled our mortal existence, and finsihed his task here on earth. God had already said, "Well done, My good and faithful servant.

I do not believe that he gave up or ever lost faith. He was appealing to his family to let him go. He had done God's will, and now it was time for him to assume another place in God's kingdom.

Now, comes the circus - or pomp and circumstance if I may state it as such.

Because he was a man of the cloth, and held high ranks and esteem in the Baptist community, a choral director, and lover of people, the family now must endure a two day service in order to accomdate his many influences.

I request your continued prayers.

"Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet
when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."

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