My father had a small stroke at age 70 from which he nearly fully recovered.
He feared that if there was another one, he would disabled. He told me that under no circumstances should I allow CPR, intubation, rescucitation or any other “heroic measures”.
Years later he had a heart attack, and while in a coma, the doctor informed me that his only chance of survival depended on his having open heart surgery. When I pressed the doctor to describe what Dad’s lifestyle and quality of life after this surgery would likely be, he told that IF Dad survived the surgery, he would have many months of difficult recovery in hospital and would most likely need to move into long term care. It was easy for me to withold consent for this surgery because I understood his wishes very well.
I sat with him for the next 12 hours, quietly, holding his hand, assuring him that it was ok to let go now, that this was his final stretch of highway(he had been a big road tripper), that I would be ok and that he had been a good Dad and I was grateful to him. When he took his last breath, I experienced something profoundly beautiful… although no words can adequately describe it. It was as if I stood with him inside a portal…where boundaries did not exist, identidies did not exist, only a sublime peace existed. And still all these years later, I feel only joy associated with his passing.
Together we stood at the threshold of a great mystery, and I have never feared my own death since, and have always been so very happy for him, for passing with such ease.