by Jennie Dear | The Atlantic
“‘Do you want to know what will happen as your body starts shutting down?’
An angel statue that is part of a newly installed memorial to people who have suffered the loss of a child, is shown Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Wash. The memorial is near where Charlie and Braden Powell were buried after their father, Josh Powell, killed them and himself earlier in 2012 during an investigation into the disappearance of Josh’s wife, Susan. The memorial was paid for with funds donated to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County following the death of the boys. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
“My mother and I sat across from the hospice nurse in my parents’ Colorado home. It was 2005, and my mother had reached the end of treatments for metastatic breast cancer. A month or two earlier, she’d been able to take the dog for daily walks in the mountains and travel to Australia with my father. Now, she was weak, exhausted from the disease and chemotherapy and pain medication.
“My mother had been the one to decide, with her doctor’s blessing, to stop pursuing the dwindling chemo options, and she had been the one to ask her doctor to call hospice. Still, we weren’t prepared for the nurse’s question. My mother and I exchanged glances, a little shocked. But what we felt most was a sense of relief.
“During six-and-a-half years of treatment, although my mother saw two general practitioners, six oncologists, a cardiologist, several radiation technicians, nurses at two chemotherapy facilities … ”