On death and dying

Did anyone else watch Private Practice last night? I couldn't watch last week because of the dying kid (and I don't even have a kid - how do parents stand it?) but made the mistake of watching last night's episode today. WTF is with the repetitive emotional bullying? I mean, you'd have to be made of steel not to cry. It's Thursday night primetime, for goodness sake. Do we all really need to be sobbing messes on a Thursday night? So close to the end of the week? If we manage to make it through to the weekend don't we deserve to segway into Friday lightheartedly, without a giant dose of harsh reality and empty tear ducts?

Still, the storyline of the two doctors helping a cancer patient die reminds me of something really powerful, something I know I've said before. I hate death and dying - my mom, a critical care nurse, has always seemed a natural with it: she understands the balance of life and death and it doesn't freak her out - it's the order of the world. In order to live, we must also die. But I struggle to accept death gracefully. I hope that I continue to learn to appreciate it, because I believe that being there with someone, in death, is the most profound gift you can give and receive.

I say this because being with my Grandma in the moments before and as she died is hands down the most important thing I've ever done in my life. And the greatest gift I have from her - and I have so, so many - is that we shared her final journey, just as we shared all our travels in life.

 

15 comments:

Fertilized said...

I took a course in callege called "death and dying". I took it as an elective and didn't pay much attention to the class. I felt it was too morbid to think about ..I probablly shoul d have paid attention.

That is what you title made me think of today. I do not watch private practice.

12:14 PM
One Anxious Mommy said...

I can not handle watching anything that involves something happening to children. I try to avoid it. Have a great weekend and thanks for the insightful post!

12:16 PM
uncomplicateme said...

I love Private Practice, but didn't have time to watch last night's yet (thank you, DVR). They always make me think though.

I have a weird agreement with death, I acknowledge its presence and necessity, but I don't really want to give it the time of day. When my great grandparents were passing away (when I was born, 7 of the 8 were alive, and they all passed away between 1998 and 2002) I could have gone to be with 2 of them in the end, but I chose not to, and I've never regretted that decision. I really hold fast to the great memories we have and I didn't want to taint that with the reality that they were slipping from this world. I know in my heart we'll meet again, and we'll pick right up where we left off.

12:23 PM
calicobebop said...

Oh no - I can't watch anything that involves children dying. It's too, too heartbreaking.

I do not have a close relationship to death and I pray that I never do. The family members that have passed on have indeed gone to a much better place where their suffering could end. It's hard to begrudge them relief.

I know that when an unexpected death affects me it will be profound and lasting. I hope it's a long long way off.

12:39 PM
Michelle said...

Both hubby and I refuse to ever watch Bridge to Terabithea again for the same exact reason.

12:53 PM
HeatherPride said...

I completely agree. I was at my grandmother's and then my grandfather's bedsides as they died, and I felt so honored to share that moment with them. It truly is the most intimate moment you can share with someone.

1:02 PM
Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I have a hard time with death as well. It's a difficult subject and having Lemy only makes it that much more scary to think about.

1:48 PM
Debbie said...

What a lovely post and great tribute to your grandmother.
Oh, and can I just tell you that your word verification is asking me to type in "hooker"?

2:27 PM
Cheryl Lage said...

Wow, what a lovely testimony to your grandmother...and your ability to capture an elusive feeling with great prose.

Thank you so for coming by my blog, and for your kind words...means so much!

(and guess what? Not only do traumatizing programs "get to you" as a parent, but the heartwarming moments of other kids break me up every time too! Emotional puddle, I.)

Love your blog...will be back!

5:51 PM
Reinvent Dad said...

I don't believe I've ever considered death as the "final journey" but considering it's the culmination of an individual's years on Earth in which he/she was born, nutured, educated, befriended, and loved....it makes sense to be together at the end with the persons who you hold dear to your heart...

Oh, I can't stand to watch TV shows or movies where children are mistreated or killed (I know it happens a lot on the world)...FYI, don't go see "Slum Dog Millionaire" as it has some VERY disturbing scenes along those lines...I almost walked out.

7:13 PM
Melissa said...

I think I struggle with everyone's expectations when someone close to me dies. And I don't ever really know how I'm supposed to act, or respond during and after the death. Death doesn't frighten me like it does some people...but I hate it when people are struggling. I just pray for mercy.

11:08 PM
Kat said...

Death and I are not on speaking terms right now.

7:42 AM
Casey said...

Haven't seen Private Practice yet (I'm FOUR EPISODES BEHIND!!!) but I know what you mean here. I was with my Gram when she died and I'm so glad I got to be there, even though it was hard.

3:51 PM
Maggie May said...

i was also with my grandma as she died and it was one of the most important moments of my life.

8:04 PM
DeeMarie said...

That show is becoming far too emotional. Even Scrubs had someone die a few weeks ago. I should not cry from sadness watching a comedy!!!

8:05 AM