A nurse came in and began hooking up a new machine. “I thought I was going to get to go home,” Mom said, her voice thick with disappointment. Instead, the nurse connected mother’s dwindling body by tubes to yet another pain pump, and we began to watch her die. Six siblings and their spouses and children—in and out of a small and stuffy hospital room, round the clock, three weeks. It was tense, excruciatingly painful, depressing, exhausting. But none suffered more than Mom. Day after day she moaned, refused her food, stared at nothing, cried, hurt. Nurses said it was time to turn her. As they tugged on the bedding beneath her, she groaned, then cried out as the movement cracked her disintegrating bones. Please leave her alone; no more turning, we pleaded. The nurses understood. There was no more turning. And then one day, with a burst of energy that was shocking and terrifying, Mom sat straight up in bed, her voice hoarse but firm: Help me!
Mom's doctor was a fine man, a solemn man, a merciful man. Two hours later, Mom’s suffering ended.