A strange day

Day 5 of the COVID-19 lock down was an ordinary Tuesday, except that I did not go to work, or to the stores, nor visited friends. I enjoyed the solitude and the stillness around me when I awoke and was certain that this day would be filled with the rest that we all need. Rest from being so busy with non-essential tasks that revolve mostly around ourselves.

Then the message came from my sister to say that her second grandchild was born, but that the doctor was worried about his lungs. We started praying, as we always do when we are in trouble. Heartbroken that it is always trouble and challenges that bring us back to faith and on our knees.

The next message was of even more serious nature. My son-in-law’s dad suffered a massive heart attack while he was completing admission forms in the hospital after being told by his doctor to rush to the hospital. His wife was with him and I just can’t give enough thanks that this happened inside the hospital. He was wheeled to theater almost immediately where they worked on him for the best part of 5 hours. And his wife (over 70 and not well herself) was waiting all the time in a lonely waiting room. Lonely, because there is a lock down and her children are not allowed to drive and visit.

For me, this was an eye opener. We, as a family, were now in the same position where many people will be once they contract COVID-19, and should they be admitted. Being ill and isolated certainly sounds like too much to adapt to. And what if death sets in and you have to die alone without having the chance to say goodbye? Everyone is talking about living wills, but there is more to advanced health care than just a living will. There is the important, but difficult, conversations that must take place between family members. This should include last wishes, yes. But it should also include the following 4 things as Ira Byock pointed out in his book on The four things that matter most:

  • Please forgive me
  • I forgive you
  • Thank you
  • I love you

I urge you to use your time with your significant others wisely and to open the discussion about the four things that matter most.

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