518400 seconds

There are 518400 seconds in 6 days.

And I feel like I have been acutely aware of each single one of those seconds.

I look back on the Meg of a week ago and I already feel like I don’t recognise her anymore.

I’m not sure if it’s shock, or trauma, or both.  But everything seems different to me now.  It’s almost like I’ve suffered so much in the last 6 days that I’ve become a completely different person.  It’s hard to connect with anyone at the moment.  Like I’m speaking a different language to everyone else.  Or I’m from another planet.  I’m finding myself staring blankly at everything like I don’t recognise it anymore.

I had to actually look back on my last blog post to see what had already happened.  Hard to believe it was only a few days ago since I posted.

Yesterday my Dad told my brother and I that we had to meet him at the hospital.  That the doctor wanted to talk to us as a family and that we had to make a decision.

That decision was whether to take my Mum off life support and let her die, or take her off and put her on assisted breathing.  Permanent 24 hour a day care assisted breathing.  Against her wishes.

Even as I type this I’m sitting dumbfounded at the fact we had to make that kind of decision.  I don’t understand how life got to this point.

I took a leadership role within the family and lead us to a decision.  A decision to keep her alive.  And then I came home and went back to work.


I don’t remember signing up for this when I became an adult.

How on earth could we live with the decision – whichever decision we made.

How much stress and grief can one person live with.  I feel like I’m constantly testing that.

And so we got to this morning.  Tuesday morning 20th June.

The doctors asked us all to be there while they took my Mum off life support and put her on assisted breathing (as we directed).

Except. Except…

My Mum had been taken off the sedation and she was able to make a decision.  And that was a very very firm decision to be taken off life support and be allowed to pass away peacefully.  No more ventilator.  No permanent tracheotomy.  No more breathing tubes. No more.

We sat with her for 3 hours.  We held her hand, we cried, we said goodbye to her.

She was able to use an etch-a-sketch to say goodbye to us.


And at exactly 2pm we left the room.  The 4th “final goodbye” in the last 6 days.

At 2pm the doctors took my Mum off life support….

…and she started breathing on her own.  She had less than 10% chance of breathing on her own, but she did.

I wish that was the end of the story, and that it was a happy ending.  But tonight the heartache continues.  If she starts to struggle to breathe – at any point – they will sedate her so she can pass away.

518400 seconds.  It feels like it could have been 518400 years.


About istopforsuffering

A page created to help spread love and kindness and positivity. Dedicated to making this world a better place, and making a difference in people's lives.

One response to “518400 seconds

  1. I have been in a very similar place myself so I can sympathise.. This is what I wrote about it, anonymised.


    It was a shock.

    Yes, it had been years. And the matron said it had been five days since she handed in all her valuables and stopped eating. Still. … Like a death mask.

    “Mrs Smith. Your son is here to see you.”

    A pause, then a sudden radiant smile.


    I took her hand.

    “I came to say goodbye. I love you, mum.”

    The years, the words spoken and unspoken dissolve, leaving four eyes in tears.

    And she drifts off again.

    Back in the office the matron wants advice. Help.

    “Let us honour her right to end her life.”

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