My father should turn 85 years of age in October. He has had a great life and he has been associated with many big name historians such as Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King, and I even have a picture of him with a “much younger looking” Hillary Clinton. Pop would give speeches that would motivate large numbers of people. He was also very good at singing Gospel music. His mind was sharp, and for me he always had answers to the questions I asked growing up. Time changes all, and currently my father came “very close” to losing his leg due to diabetes. He is currently in a rehabilitation facility where they are trying to get him to walk again. While the leg has gone through improvement, the spirit seems to have traveled in the opposite direction. When you are a diabetic in his stage you have to go through a lot of needles and pricking. Pop also has to be mindful to eat only certain types of food. For a man who was used to being someone that everyone else depended on for most of his life, this transition has not been an easy one. He cannot get up to go the the bathroom by himself. He has lost about 50 pounds from refusing to eat. He cannot continue this pace for too much longer. When I visited him yesterday his spirits seemed to be a little better. He had a plate in front of him but he only ate the soup portion of his dinner and claimed that it hurts his stomach to eat any of the regular food. Don’t get me wrong. 84 years of life should be a blessing, but there is a big difference between just “living” and the “quality of life.” If you have to depend on others for the simple things that you once used to do yourself then obviously your quality of life has greatly diminished. As much as we want to keep my father with us, we often ask ourselves the question “At what cost?” Most of my father’s friends are gone. He is not in the greatest of health and doesn’t like staying in the hospital. However, if he were home he would not even be able to stand or walk without our help. For his needs he is in the best care facility. I want to keep my father forever, but if we can’t guarantee a decent quality of life then would that be fair? People have been known to actually “will themselves” to death. It just feels as though Pop is tired and as difficult as it is to accept that I have to understand it. I struggle with the concept that it would be selfish to keep him here just so he can suffer. I often think to myself how I would feel if I were in the same situation. As difficult as this is to say, I want what’s best for my father. I don’t want him to be in continuous pain. Living life in pain is not the same as living life, and yet I don’t want him to leave. No one lives forever. We are all on borrowed time… The quality of life is important and should not be ignored. For once, I feel as though I don’t have an answer for something that I already know the answer to. Can you love someone enough to let them go? I’m afraid I am about to find out the answer to that question if things don’t change soon. I want whatever is best… I want whatever is best… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
My father, Elton Jolly