Recently we discussed traumatic death and that has had an impact on the way I viewed things with the loss of my grandmother. Accidents are the fifth cause of death in the United States. Having this knowledge reminds me that I am not alone in the experiencing a traumatic death and that many people have confusing coping processes because of the unexpected event. Learning the common characteristics among traumatic deaths opened up my understanding. I now understand why it was so hard for me to cope. Losing my grandmother in a car accident was abrupt and allowed me no time to adjust to life without her- no time for the idea of life without her. With my grandmother acting as my caretaker while my mother worked to support us, life after was a disaster. We all were most hurt because it could have easily been prevented in many ways. She could have come with us on our trip, my aunt could have waited until the rain had stopped to drive her home, and the other driver could have used more sense when driving recklessly. After many years, I realize it is important to let go. Things happen for a reason and are out of our control for a purpose.
After reflecting over the entire semester I also found that watching the film “Between Life and Death” also impacted me greatly. I remembering crying harder than normal during the movie, and now I know it was not because of the movie but because of the memories it evoked of my grandmother. She was in a persistent vegetative state and had no brain function. My mother was the next of kin and deemed responsible for making the decision of continuing to prolong her medical induced coma or taking her off the ventilator. We believed it was most humane to take her off of life support. After watching the movie, it confirmed my belief in that my mother made the right decision. Allowing for the memories to resurface gave me the opportunity to really process everything that happened. I had suppressed them for so long, it was time I had dealt with the big issues surrounding her death.
We talked about medical advancements changing the way death occurs. From personal experience, I do believe now in most cases it is a process rather than an event. My grandmother was resuscitated three times before arriving to the hospital. I do believe everyone deserves a fighting chance, but I must argue how much fight is in a person when they need life sustaining medical equipment. It is really hard to decide what I would want in a situation like this. I would like to think I would rather not die in a hospital, but there is something about humanity that always pushes us to try to survive instead of gracefully letting go. I appreciate this class for making me consider end of life decisions and exciting my passion for life.