I was called to the hospital room of an elderly gentleman who had died rather suddenly. His daughter arrived about the time I did. I spoke briefly with her, as she began making necessary arrangements for her father, who had Alzheimer’s disease. She had been caring for him for some time, and had been used to his not making sense.
That morning, though, he had said something several times that only now made sense.
“The show’s over,” he had muttered several times.
Whether he knew it or not, he was telling her it was time. Maybe it’s just that simple, though we usually don’t allow it to be so. We tend to complicate and make things more than they need to be. Life to him could have signified that play being acted out on a great stage, and he knew when his time was up. I can’t see any reason to read more than that into it.
From him: I heard you can tell the ending any way you want. It’s yours to tell. If we listen, we will learn things in advance. If not, we learn them later, maybe.
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
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