Other Obstacles to “Letting Go”

Posted on February 15, 2012 by


Mary was eighty-seven years old when I met her.  Ten years prior, a massive colon perforation left her kidneys incapable of functioning.  She had been in dialysis ever since.

“Monday, Wednesday, Friday – that’s been my life for over ten years,” she said.

I saw her for homecare after she fell and fractured her hip – to do some strengthening and get her mobile again.

“What happened when you fell?” I asked.

“Nothing.  I gave out.  I’m tired.  Just tired.”

Her hazel eyes were sluggish and she took frequent deep breaths.  I asked her what her goals were – did she want to get back to doing something she wasn’t able to do?

“My goal is to get out of this dialysis stuff.  I’m ready to be done.  I’ve seen my children grow, helped raise my grandchildren, and my husband has been gone for years.”  I asked her when she decided this.

“I’ve been ready.  It’s my kids – they aren’t ready,” she said.  “They keep telling me it’s not time because my mind is still good.”

“Sounds like they don’t want to lose you,” I said.  She stared at me, probably thinking not you too.

“A person shouldn’t have to feel like they’re committing a sin just because they want to stop all this treatment – that’s how they make me feel.  I feel guilty, so I’ll just keep getting on that bus three times a week until something happens.”

A rhythmical bass tone filled the air between us.  It came from the antique clock on the mantel – an heirloom from one of her ancestors.