I’m sitting on the floor in a room of a nursing home. a distant family member with age of 98 is dying. She’s a sleep now.
Being here is weird. Just an our ago I was contemplating if I should go or not. I mean, I didn’t see her all that often growing up so we didn’t have a strong connection, but I did like visiting her the few times a year we went to her.
Now that feels incredibly selfish. What does it cost me to sit here for an afternoon, nothing. And I’m sure I’d she wakes up she’d feel appreciated and loved when I/we are there. It’s selfish to value a boring work afternoon higher than someone’s last moments on earth. Even if I don’t get that much joy out of it.
I don’t like that too rational side of myself. I mean the argument I made an hour ago was logical and valid. She might be asleep the entire time. She might be on to much medication to realize I’m in te room. But so what? I should value te the small possibility of bringing her joy infinitely more. I should, but I don’t. Not until I’m actually here an am confronted with this situation.
Also, nursing homes and seeing old fragile people scare me significantly. Nursing homes in The Netherlands aren’t bad, not compared to most countries. But it feels like a too streamlined process for people to die. Everything cost an obscene amount of money, this at a time when money is the last thing you want to think or worry about. Even the sparse room she’s in; there are hard floors for easy cleaning. A few painting are hung from the ceiling with fishing wire, of course you can’t properly hang the paintings – the rooms are built for a quick turn round time.
And I get it, elderly care is really expensive for a nation. But still it feels impersonal and harsh
After typing this she has been woken up by the staff here. She didn’t recognize me but after being told who i was she stumbled my name a couple times. She’s asleep again. I’m glad I went to see her. I hope I don’t forget this experience and take this with me going forward.