An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Cold or Considerate?

Sisters Faith and Hope came visiting teaching this week. Since a ward member died recently, the conversation turned to end-of-life. Sister Hope told of her family placing her grandfather’s hospital bed in the living room where he could be with the family. When her grandmother was dying, Hope’s  aunt washed her body and dressed her in clean garments and nightgown so she could die peacefully.

I should know better than to offer my opinion on these visits, but I spoke up—minus the prompting of the Holy Spirit. “I couldn’t stand to have my bed in the living room while I was dying. I need privacy. And I don’t want my kids to have to care for me at the end. Let me die with nice, paid strangers.”

Sister Faith frowned and shook her head. “Caring for loved ones can be a blessing. My good friend had such a tender experience caring for her mother. She was so grateful for that time.”

Sorry, Sister Faith. I’m not sentimental. I know many people find satisfaction in caring for the ill and dying. These people usually go into nursing—and I’m thankful for their skills. There are no nurses in our family. For me and, I suspect for my children, caring for a dying parent is a duty we can perform, but not enjoy.

Sister Faith obviously thinks I’m cold-hearted. I think I’m considerate.

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