It's Their Life
Often when someone is dying we see them they as vulnerable and we feel we need to protect them from everything. But I think that really we are protecting them for our own needs; prolong their life so we don’t have to let them go so soon. Death puts us in the middle of something we can’t control and this also helps us (not them) falsely feel like we can control or even slow the dying process. When you have been caring for someone in the last part of their life it is easy to fall into the pattern of protection. But even if protection could gain us another day with our loved one, we would still end up wanting another and another.
I found that I was unconsciously controlling my partner’s last days, thinking I was taking care of him. He wasn’t supposed to eat or drink much because it took energy from his lungs so I hesitated to give him a full glass of his favorite food, orange juice, when he requested it. But then I questioned the purpose of keeping him a few more hours or days when he couldn’t enjoy them. It was his life, not mine and if he wanted to shorten it by enjoying juice, it was his choice. I was also hesitant to let his friend visit him, thinking it would wear him out. But then I realized he needed to enjoy what life he had left. I am so glad I learned this lesson in time and gave him back his power to choose. He had a wonderful few hours reliving his youth with his good friend. The price he paid in tiredness was well worth it to him.
So my advice is to remember that the person who is dying needs to be in control of their last days as much as possible; to be allowed to use them up as fast or slow as they wish. It’s all they have left and it’s their life.