All the glorious meat and potatoes of life in between first and last breaths is uncertain and unique to each human life. That first gasp that assaults our systems with life giving air and the finale exhale that ends it all are the only constants.
And while we celebrate the start, we desperately hide from the latter. We pretend that it is something that can be avoided, and if we can't postpone the inevitable, then we blame. We blame that incompetent doctor, we blame the stressful home life, we blame ourselves.
The sobering truth, the one that can pull us from a frenzy of anger, busy work and busy minds, is that we are all going to die.
The absolute disgust with death is something I have seen in my fledgling nursing career over and over. And many times, I'm right there with my patients and their families, championing the rage war of just how unfair and awful it can be sometimes. But I know that, despite our best efforts to rationalize, balance cosmic karma budgets and pray, that death will still come.
And we need to be more okay with this.
Please don't mistake my bold request as a lack of empathy. I empathize. I don't want my patients to die. I don't want their families to weep. I don't want DNAR forms to be considerations. I don't want death messing with my own life.
I want us to live big, beautiful bold eternities. And maybe this is what happens. But in the here and now, with a heart made of meat that does not recognize eternity, we need to accept that death is here and always will be.
Before we get to the edge, holding back death with an arsenal of feeding tubes, ventilators and antibiotics, before our loved ones get there, we need to think: Is this right? Or is this death?
Because if it is death, the fight to hold it off will be expensive financially, emotionally and spiritually. And there is no real fight, just an inevitability.
And to anyone suffering the sting of loss, this post might come across as arrogant. I assure you I am posting with nothing but love and humble intentions.
To rip off one of my patient's zen thoughts (who may of ripped it off of someone else): We need to stop praying for miracles. We are the miracles.