The adrenalin finally began to wear off. At exactly the one month mark, I began to feel guilt. Deep, weighty, pounding guilt. Guilt over the choices I made. Guilt over the choices I didn’t make. Satan truly is seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. And he went after my peace. He attacked the one thing I had always been confident I was doing my best at: being a good caregiver. The accusations had just enough truth in them to give me great pain. I was reminded that I could have had a feeding tube placed to help Daryl be nourished to regain his strength. I could have had an IV put in to give him fluids. I could have called a doctor in and asked for more help in saving his life.
Every. Statement. Was. True.
Maybe I shouldn’t have let him go. Maybe I didn’t fight hard enough at the end.
I had the good sense to run these thoughts past others. Matthew and Amy invited me over that afternoon. As I confided my distress to Matt, he assured me that we had all made the decisions together. That Dad would NOT have wanted to prolong what he was going through. That I did the right thing.
I confided the next day in our friend Rocky, who had been through similar challenges with Sue. His insights soothed my troubled soul. He reminded me of God’s sovereignty and goodness. And how ludicrous it is to think that we have anything to do with God’s perfect timing in taking one of His own home. He reminded me to keep my mind in heaven where Daryl is, not on earth where he was. To take my thoughts captive to Scripture and to what I know of God.
The next day Daniel affirmed what I had been told. Once more, to remind me that we all made these decisions together, and that they believed that I was making the best decisions possible. That I did the right thing.
You see, I let him go. There was at point at which he stopped eating. A point at which he stopped being able to swallow. A point at which I could only give him strawfulls of fluids (Coke of course!) in the side of his mouth. And a point at which I took my hands off of trying to save his life, and allowed him to gently go Home. That was a moment in which I knew I was supposed to stop. To turn loose. My job was complete. I had loved, advocated, fought, served, taught nurses, persisted, and generally stayed by his side through all of this. I had the respect and admiration of the nursing staff of several hospitals and doctor’s offices. And now, it was time to let go.
I was holding his hand quoting his favorite song verses and Bible verses to him as he was ushered home. He let out what I thought was a final breath, then suddenly inhaled, startling me! I laughed and told him he pulled a joke on me. Then he did breathe his final breath and was gone with a little “puff”.
I calmly let the nurses know that I thought he was gone. I think the calm surprised them. My task as Daryl’s helpmeet was done.
I’m grateful for people who are walking this beside me. I’m thankful the weight of the guilt was resolved.
It wasn’t my fault.
It was God’s goodness.