Standing at her bedside one last time, listening to the beeps of medical machines, waiting for the moment when the nurse would remove her breathing tube, I thought about my mother and her all too short and tragic life and how her life had affected me. I was twenty four at the time. What struck me most at that moment were all the decisions that were made, either by her or people around her throughout her life, which led her to where she now lay. She was about to die. Or more accurately, my sister, brother, and I had made the decision to end her life at that moment. We, the children she bore into this world, who she raised with the values and beliefs that gave us the tools and parameters in which we were making our own life decisions were about to make her final decision for her. Surprisingly it was not a difficult decision; it was sad and regrettable, but not a difficult one to make. All three of us agreed with very little discussion that this was the right decision.
I have often thought about that time in my life and why this decision was not as difficult a decision as I thought it should be. My conclusion is that our mother gave us the right tools; she gave us the confidence, strength, and a deep respect for understanding the consequences of our decisions before acting upon them. From a very young age she allowed us to make our own decisions and then made us deal with the consequences even if it meant getting hurt. I believe that a life is made up of decisions, made by us or the people around us, and then dealing with the consequences of those decisions, either good or bad. It is being aware of these consequences that help us to make the right decisions. This is not to over simplify the complexity and shear volume of decisions we make everyday. But I do believe that if we make deliberate decisions; not based upon immediate gratification, or ease, but upon well thought out reason that take into consideration not only how our decisions may affect us but also how it affects the people around us, we can make our and the people around us lives easier and more fulfilling. This is not to say that all of life must be deliberate and that spontaneity has no place in our lives. It only means that on a whole we should respect the importance of developing in ourselves and our children an intuitive understanding and respect for the decisions we make and the resulting consequences.
And so at the end of my mother’s life I believe she reaped what she sowed. Her life lessons came full circle and the good decisions she made in raising us to acknowledge and respect the consequences of our decisions gave us the confidence and strength to know that our decision to end her life at that moment was the right decision for her and us.