Life is Something Worth Living For
In my lifetime I’ve been a very suicidal girl. I’ve been fighting off urges of suicide since I was about 13 years old, actually. Yes, effective treatment makes these disappear but treatment is, alas, not always effective.
But although I’ve thought of death more in this lifetime than anyone should, I’ve never actually been around a dying person. I’ve never seen a person so close to death that you can see the shadow of the scythe. That is, until now.
Right now my grandmother is dying. She’s lying in a hospital bed pumped full of morphine with 14 liters of oxygen being force-fed into her lungs. She’s lying there listening to death whisper in her ear. We all know she’s done. We all know it’s over. We all go and this is her time.
And her eyes are wide with fear. She knows what is happening, and she even believes in heaven, but still she is terrified and she’s fighting the inevitable. Even though staying alive is torture, she wills it beyond the alternative. And I get it. Death is the ultimate fear. It’s the ultimate unknown, even when you have proclaimed a certain religion for the better part of a century.
And as I stood there beside her, holding her frail hand, I learned something. I learned something about fighting. I learned something about beating back death. I learned something about attempting to put off the ending. I learned something about grit.
And it occurred to me that considering what this woman is going through to live, what this woman is surviving in order to fight, I have no right to take my own life. I have no right even to think about it. It’s the ultimate betrayal of life. Of the living. Of the fighting.
And even though I’ve spent a couple of decades fighting death myself, standing there, in front of that woman, I silently vowed to fight harder. I decided that if she could survive torture to take one more gurgled breath, then so could I. I decided that if she was willing to go to the ends of suffering just to live, then so could I. I decided that if she could continue through doctors and drugs and procedures, then so could I.
So, death. The biggest lesson we can take from it is about life. The tenacity of life. The fervour of life. The iron-clad will of life. And this lesson is something we can lean on in the darkest of times. Because life is something worth living for. Just ask my grandmother.
Tracy, N. (2013, August 9). Life is Something Worth Living For, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/08/life-worth-living
Author: Natasha Tracy
I was with my Godmother two weeks before she died of cancer. She's been gone for a very long time now. But she on the other hand was NOT ready to die. The doctor initially made a mistake in her diagnosis that allowed the cancer to grow beyond what it should have. Never the less she fought it hard and was full of hope 'til the bitter end.
I was with my dad when he took his last breath and also died of cancer. I was glad I could be there for him. Initially he was in shock and lived in denial not wanting to talk about the cancer diagnosis. Then when reality set in and he realized he could actually die, he began to muster all the strength he could to fight it. Unfortunately he waited too long and passed away. It's been 7 years now and I still haven't decided what to do with his ashes. He liked gardening and the outdoors. I'll have to find a nice place to plant his ashes somewhere this summer, maybe on his birthday. I like to watch the movie 'The Bucket List' with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson On the anniversary of his death because it reminds me of him
My grandmother was ready, my godmother was not and my dad buried his head in the sand 'til it was too late...
I am grateful that you've been able to make a reason to live out of your grandmother's impending passing. More than that I'm jealous and am wondering why reading this all I can say to myself is "..Yeah, but that's because dying in SCARY. Of course, just as you said, she'd rather go through the torture of treatment to stay alive, but it's all to avoid scary, scary DEATH. She's not fighting for more experiences, simply more time to avoid what she fears."
And for me, that's no reason to keep on living unhappily and worthlessly as I am (yes, diagnosed bipolar, depression anxiety). She's fighting to live to avoid something that MIGHT be worse. I'm fighting against something I already know & feel is excruciating..
I'm sorry about your grandmother, but I'm glad it inspired you to live your life like it's the only one you get.
It's amazing what seeing the actual reality does for us, whether it's the reality of death or something else.
Your post should inspire every reader to delve into themselves and find out their impetus to live.
On a side note, Natasha, did you see my question for you in your post about bipolar and borderline personality disorder?