Letting go: my battle to help my parents die a good death

Letting go: my battle to help my parents die a good death

The Guardian

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My parents were determined to avoid heroic medical interventions in their dying days, even before the pandemic. Why wasn’t anybody listening?

Almost as soon as the word Covid is coined, my parents update their “advance decision” documents. They’re constantly adjusting them, fine-tuning their wishes for future medical treatment. “Like a dowager with an elaborate will,” I tease them, blowing the ink dry on yet another signature.

When they first completed their advance decision document, 20 years ago, they were mostly concerned with not being resuscitated should they have a stroke, perhaps while shopping in the market or cycling home. Now, aged 84 and 82 and debilitated by multiple illnesses, they’ve had to give up their bikes and those hopes of a dramatic end. “We look like the old people road sign,” says my mum, bent over her walking aid, handing my dad his stick. And they do. Frail as leaves, they totter down the road to the vegetarian cafe: the wind could blow them away.

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