A comment on a post from one of my favorite bloggers, washashore wannabe, reads, "No one person can keep another person alive - this is what I've learned to tell myself."
Yes yes yes. Exactly. What a difficult lesson. Thank you for reminding me - I'm grateful. (And, readers, be sure to visit his wonderful blog, at http://midlifemidcape.wordpress.com/).
I remember the first year(s) of caring for my mother as she moved to a nearby assisted living home. I ordered her prescriptions and prepared her medicines, took her to doctor's appointments, arranged her clothes. I visited her daily, negotiated with caregivers. I felt the terrible burden of this woman's fragile life being in my hands. My often clumsy or busy hands.
Even as she proclaimed her desire to die, it seemingly became my responsibility to make her WANT to live. As she sits bored in her chair, merely awaiting Dr Phil each day, refusing to participate in most activities, she yearns for death. What will I do about that?
I have learned, and occasionally must re-take the lesson, that I am not responsible for her staying alive. Even more difficult for me, I am not responsible for her happiness or for her having a meaningful or rich life. She alone must do that herself - live - in all senses of the word.