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No fate but what we make?

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I just saw this animation, and it really reminded me of this last year, when my 96 year old grandmother died.

The idea of this vid, i think shows how sometimes medical science goes way beyond reason when it comes to keeping people alive.
The last few years with my grandmother in the nursing home were very difficult, and it often made me wonder if this was truly the right way. What you see in this animation, feels pretty similar to what happend to my grandmother, and all the scenes feel like they show the emotional experience of how life becomes an insane rollercoaster ride to extend a life beyond any sense of right or wrong. Each month more problems and more pain, regardless of the fact that my grandmother has always said that she'd rather die young then having to live her few remaining years in pain and sorrow in a nursing home.

My grandmother's problems started when she had a heart attack at 85, and soon after that, it became clear that the mental shock of this resulted in clear signs of dementia.
When she was hospitalized in a nursing home 4 years ago, we knew that we were doing something that, if she had not been suffering from advancing dementia, would never have wanted, but the situation was caused by a very serious accident related to that, and so there wasn't really a choice.
At this stage we knew that she could no longer leave her home without getting lost, and we had a pretty good controle over it, but one day in the middle of the winter, one of the nurses was late for her visit, and my granny had gone walking on her own, and fell into a local pond where she almost died, but thankfully she was saved by a good person on the street walking by, and she was then hospitalized because of hypothermia, and was then transferred to a nursing home 2 days later.

At first, it felt kind of strange leaving her there, because, even though she was in no condition to live on her own anymore, it did feel like she was in a much better state then all the other people there.

Then, i think about one and a half years ago, after several problems like a stupid lazy nurse forgetting to clean her diapers to a broken hip from falling out of bed to stupid lazy, and eventually a growing abdominal pains, there was a moment when i walked into the room, and noticed that she had become like all the others, and that's when i started to feel really bad for her, because i knew that the following months would be very hard, and with a great personal uncertainty about whether this was still right, or if we as humanity with our medical gadgets and gizmo's are not doing something really wrong with her.

I miss her terribly, but when she died, i was really happy for her. It was terrible that she had to leave us, but for herself, her body and her mind already wanted to be free from all the pain for a long time.

It's now almost a year ago, and i still can't believe that she's actually gone, but i'd hate to think what it would have been like if she had still lived up to this point, because the last 3 years really felt like the way this animation so humorously portrays things, like a rollercoaster of doctors fighting death with absolutely no sense of humanity or a real respect and understanding for an individual life.

Don't get me wrong, i am not some crazy naturalist or religious fanatic who thinks medical science is evil or anything like that, but i do think that we should be more carefull about how we treat the life of a person who's body and mind has shown clear signs that it has reached it's natural limit of the ability to survive on it's own due purely to old age.

Just because we have the knowlege and the power to do something, doesn't neccisarily make the doing of that thing acceptable or wise, or better yet, morally acceptable, and i think that this animation is brilliant in presenting this with a sense of humor and irony, and yet maintain it's true message.

Today, looking at photographs of my grandmother from her time in the nursing home, there is one from about 2 or 3 months before she died, and the nursing home had organized a trip to a museum of ancient furnature, and there is one picture of her with a big smile on her face like a kid in a candy store, and i'm so glad that someone there was able to make her happy for just one one moment in a period that was otherwise sad and painful to her. I miss her terribly, but that emotional pain is very much combined with a bittersweet feeling that she's free from all the pain.


  1. Orion's Avatar
    I think I spoke to you before about your grandmother . . don't remember if it was you. Either way, I am saddened by such stories because I was VERY close to my grandmother too.

    Sometimes medical science is a bit too far fetched, it seems and I am reminded of my fav horror literature of Frankenstein and what it t4eaches us about playing god. I guess it is in our nature to withstand the agony of time as much as possible. We simply do not want to let go because we know that things will change forever, and there will be no such connection ever again as before with that person.

    My grandmother suffered with cancer . . she was in agony, and being religious she got strength from the passion of Jesus and what he suffered on the cross . . . in life there are moments where all seems lost except for one person. Last time we talked it as on the phone across an ocean . . . she could not hear me, but I said "I love you" and it still echoes to this day and long after I am gone.

    Micha, let the world do what it wants. . . the life you and I know is much simpler and we can't open it up to take on the problems of this world. There are some things we wish we could change, but when we can't, we must not let the world consume us. It's love that drives us, and pain and hatred that makes us wither away. It's what makes a person like you stronger, and thus a person like your grandmother unforgettable and true.