As I sit down to write this post, I am not really sure how to begin. I am not really sure what content will fill this space. I don't really know how I will bring it to a close.
I know that I want to say something that will affect people positively. I want to make a difference.
I suppose I could move on if things become difficult; if the words to fill the page elude me. But I feel that I have something to contribute and I don't think I can or should move on until I have finished the task at hand.
At Home Instead Senior Care, we believe in a culture of life. We believe in living life on your own terms and aging according to your wishes. We believe in making the most out of each and every day which has been given. That belief is what drives us to serve families the way we do. That belief brings patience and understanding to us in the midst of sometimes difficult circumstances and family dynamics. We want to make the world a better place. We believe that we have something to contribute.
Despite our commitment to life, we are never far removed from death. The conclusion of life is something we face often. In those moments, we take great comfort in the work that we did. We console each other in the knowledge that, for however brief a time we were a part of their story, we made that person's world a better place. Still, it isn't easy. Loss never is.
Throughout the many journeys we have been a part of, we have stood by as the people and families we cared for endured tragic things. We have watched people battle painful chronic conditions. We have seen people become prisoners in their own bodies due to ALS or Parkinson's. We have watched as a person stricken with Alzheimer's slowly fades until the moment they no longer recognize their own reflection in the mirror. Friends have been taken from us far too early and without any warning. In each case there is requisite separation. 'Just part of the business we're in,' we tell ourselves. But that truth is a lie. If it weren't, we wouldn't be any good at what we do.The reality is that losing people hurts. Watching people suffer hurts. Saying goodbye hurts. Death hurts.
Over the last several weeks, the media has been highlighting the story of woman in Oregon who has chosen to end her own life on November 1st rather than fight an aggressive type of brain cancer. Many have hailed her decision as brave. At first glance, I guess I can see that. After all, we believe in living life on your own terms. Shouldn't that include dictating the terms of its end?
But the more I reflect on her decision, the sadder I become. How sad that because of the suffering set before her, she believes that the best decision is to avoid the pain completely. That is and should be her right- both legally and ethically. Still I can't help but think about the innumerable ways in which my life has been blessed by those around me who have endured unimaginable difficulty. In moments of personal trial, I find myself bolstered by reflecting on their courage and bravery in facing those challenges. Those are my heroes.
There is a pervasive myth in our society that beating a disease is the same as winning. The reality is that some diseases, some conditions are still and perhaps always will be incurable. Life itself is the ultimate terminal condition. Facing death, despair is understandable. Choosing to avoid that struggle is pragmatic. Bravery, however, is rarely the reasonable choice.
Each day brings with it an opportunity to create, to share, to laugh, to love, to serve. While we may not know exactly which words will fill the page, we still choose to write because we believe that we have something to give. We are here for a reason. We have a purpose.
Sometimes we fight to win. Other times we win simply because we fight. In both instances, we affect the world around us. We make a difference.
I do not know how my individual story will end but I choose to put words on the page because I believe I have something to contribute. I am grateful for all those around me who have chosen to fight and in so doing made the world a better place.
"This is my quest, to follow that star.
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.
To fight for the right, without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.
And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star."
The Impossible Dream- Man of La Mancha