Near the end of life it is common be told not to worry about feeding and even to stop feeding, suggesting it will only prolong their life. Although I do not advocate feeding near the end of life in all circumstances, I propose stopping feeding because feeding will prolong life is not in keeping with a Christian world view. Why do I say this?
Length of life, according to the Bible, is determined by God. The Lord God gives us life, sustains life and takes away life. In the beginning God created everything. Psalm 139 tells us God formed us in our mother’s womb, and had our days written down even before we were formed. Job, in one of his prayers to God (Job 13-14), recognized God has determined our days, even the number of them. Hannah, the mother of Samuel in her prayer to God, in 1 Samuel 2, also saw this, saying that the Lord takes life, makes alive, brings us to the grave and up again. The prophet Isaiah, in chapter 42, says God created the heavens and the earth and gives breath to the people on it. These passages indicate God has our days planned, even the day of our death. Is this really so? The fact that many prophesies in the Bible have historically come true, support God being in control. As does the record that Jesus knew what people were thinking, as well as the outcome of their actions, (like His knowing Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed). God knows everything, our days, even the day of our death.read more
Caring for a dying person can be difficult. Caring for a dying person in our culture, a culture increasingly focused on death, can be doubly difficult, especially when questions of hydration, feeding, and assisted death come up. In our culture, we seem to easily forgo feeding. The mantra has been that dehydration is a comfortable way to die. And now, if things become uncomfortable we have sanctioned ending life with medical killing.
Let me share a story based on a real life. The themes are the same. The details are changed to respect privacy. (note – Among other things this story refers for feeding tubes and IVs. It is not a definitive guide on their use in palliative care. The best approach depends on each situation. This story is only one situation and is meant to stimulate thought an discussion.)read more
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care…affirms life and regards dying as a normal process…intends neither to hasten or postpone death…. read more
The experience of my daughter, Holly, dying recently has led me to think more about grief, Many well meaning people suggest that grieving is something needs to take place, to be allowed to run its course, and in some way we should not be to concerned or worried about redirecting it. Is this true? Can grief go wrong? As I observe the grieving of my family, I find myself asking, are they OK? Do they need help? What direction should be given? For me, I hope and pray that through the process my family draw nearer to God. How can we encourage those who grieve to draw near to God?read more