My dad died this year from a brain tumour.
The minute he was diagnosed he wished for the ‘green needle’, as he referred to it, having seen what they offer dogs to put them out of their misery. From diagnosis to death there was not much time fortunately, and I say fortunately without a shudder as there was so much suffering in this short two months that in the end we were relieved that the suffering had ended.
It’s not exactly the way you want to feel when a loved one dies! To think some people suffer for years upon years in this living purgatory does make me shudder. As you would know there seems to be two socially accepted major grieving triggers: the diagnosis and the death.
But they don’t tell you how much the suffering in between takes the wind out of everyone. How it demoralises the terminally ill, shapes the memories of family and friends and adds extra agony to the end, and how being in this limbo in so many ways is the worst part of it all.
I saw the toughest of men cry when they saw Dad in his state of dying.
As my dad said many times as his health rapidly deteriorated and he lost the capability to do all things, plus at the same time, ache with cancer-driven pain, ‘This is cruel.’ My dad was a bush larrikin, very active, a foodie and an artist. This illness took all of these things away from him in rapid succession.
Add that to the pain and discomfort and the only way you can describe it is torture. Isn’t torture a crime?
Meg Hall, first published in The Damage Done, August 2016