Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excerpt From The Front Porch Prophet

I’m reading The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L. Atkins to write a review for and the following passage just resonated with me. I was privy to many instances where family members had to make the difficult decision to remove life support from a loved one, and I thought this captured the moment in a particularly poignant way.

A father and son are talking about the wishes of Granmama that she not be kept on life support. The father says he knows her wishes. He just can’t say the words…..

“I’ll take care of it, John Robert,” he said. It was the last thing he wanted and the only thing to do. John Robert slowly nodded. The night passed in silence, and next morning A.J. conferred with Dr. Prine. Granmama’s condition had worsened. He gave a sigh.

“It was my grandmother’s wish, and it is my father’s wish, that we remove life-support when there is no sound medical reason for it to remain.” The words hung in the air, limp as wash on the line.

“Is this your wish as well?” His wishes probably didn’t matter, but it was considerate of Dr. Prine to inquire.

“My wish is that she hops up, and we go get in the truck and go home,” A.J. sadly replied. “But that’s not going to happen.”

And so, late in the afternoon, the ventilator was removed and the life support was shut down. The candle that was Granmama began to burn toward its nub. Not long after, Clara Longstreet, mother of John Robert and grandmother of Arthur John, matriarch of the Longstreet clan, flickered out of this world and took her place beside the clumsy young husband who had waited patiently for her all those years. What Jehovah and a hay baler had put asunder, A.J. and Dr. Prine had now rejoined.

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