Seeing a friend in palliative care tightly grab hold of his nose and refuse to let go, as he attempts to stop his breath and put an end to his slow, painful death… takes a bit to sink in.
Trying to pull his hand away. Trying to hold it. Trying to calm him.
Deciding not to leave for a while longer, because that was a really intense reaction to saying goodbye that no one was expecting.
With a firm refusal to take any meds, or an antibiotic to stop a feverish infection, the final stages of a long and ugly illness take hold. Wandering consciousness, hallucinations, frustration.
Lights out by request, a small group of family and friends occupy space in a dark, depressing room. Whispering, worrying, mourning the inevitable.
Urgent pleads to take medication. Repeated requests to drink some water. Question after question after question to try to keep our tortured host engaged, even though he can barely communicate except for random words, clenched fists, painful winces, and bursts of anger.
Everyone wants to help. No one knows what to do.
Orders were signed. Do not assist. Just wait… it… out.
Quiet hugs around the room. No final farewells as he drifts in and out, in and out. No one wants to incite another desperate reaction.
Life can be ugly. Life isn’t fair. Not all things happen for a reason.