Senior year at Courtney and Brandon's High School, as part of their religion class, they take a course entitled "On Death and Dying". When Courtney took this trimester of class, I knew little of it. She felt comfortable with the subject matter as we had been dealing with Mike's illness for years, in essence preparing for Mike's death. This year is Brandon's turn and he is having issues with the course. I thought of contacting the school, but he explained to me that there were students in the class who had recently lost a parent or close friend, yet they were not excused.
Since this course began, he has been struggling. He began getting migraine headaches and we've had NUMEROUS dicussions on Mike's current condition. Brandon and Courtney were only 7 & 9 (respectively) when Mike was diagnosed...far from having their own opinions and thoughts about the ravages of the disease. Now, after 10 years of watching him lose his dad to Alzheimer's, Brandon is having a diffcult time accepting the condition and "quality of life" that Mike has. I'm struggling because I find that our opinions differ.
Brandon is at a point wherein he believes that Mike would not like to be "living" like this. He feels he is being tortured by living in his "shell". I absolutely cannot disagree with his feelings, just because they are HIS feelings. What upsets me to a degree is that when he sees his dad, he sees a man suffering.
For years I have tried to explain to our children that we need to keep our faith. We need to care for Mike, love him and honor his request for no feeding tube until the time comes for him to be with his mom and dad again. When Mike is sick with fever or in pain, my heart breaks because I HATE to see him struggle. I hate to see him in pain and I always pray that he will never have to suffer. On any given day, unless he is sick, I don't see Mike as "suffering". I would never prolong Mike's pain - yet this is how Brandon feels and it hurts me to now know this.
People have always said, Little children, little problems...big kids, big problems. This is not so much of a problem but proof positive that now that Brandon is older, he is developing his own thoughts and ideas. I am faced with the fact that as our children have grown into their own individuals, they have developed their own thoughts and rationales. Despite going to Catholic schools his entire life, Brandon just cannot accept that fact that this is God's will, that Mike's life is worth living until God calls him home.
I don't want Brandon to believe that his father is suffering., but truth be told, there's no definite way for any of us to know exactly how Mike really feels. I guess this is what has always bothered me most and now that my son is voicing his concern, there is no way for me to avoid the issue.