One of the most challenging times in our lives occurs when someone we love is in a coma and on life support. It can be excruciating if you are the one that needs to make the decision, or even observe the decision being made, regarding when to remove the life support.
If you are not familiar with a living will, this is one way you can help your loved ones have an easier time deciding what to do. In a living will you make your wishes known in the event that you are comatose and on life support. That said, even where there is a living will, the decision to remove life support is not necessarily an easy one.
I’ve known several people that were on life support, where their loved ones needed to make the decision. In one case, the wife was on life support and the husband was required to decide. Their daughter was furious that he was even considering it. But he had some EMT training and given the rate at which her body was deteriorating, he knew his wife was not coming back. He also understood that his daughter was having a difficult time accepting that her mom was not going to return. He patiently waited until it was as apparent to her as it had been for him all along.
In the other instance, a mother needed to decide when to remove the life support for her young son, whose body was broken and brain damaged from a car accident. I have no doubt it was the most difficult decision in her life. She asked me to check in with his spirit and I shared with her the struggle he was having in leaving his family, yet not wanting to return to his damaged body. Ultimately, her strength in letting him go allowed his spirit to find rest.
I also knew a mother whose daughter was in a coma and on life support. Her body was not compromised, and I can imagine that may be why her husband refused to have life support removed. Perhaps he was hoping that she would return. There was tremendous tension between the mother that wanted to see her released and the husband that couldn’t bear to let her go, holding on to the hope that she would come out of the coma.
Medically, it is not always so clear-cut. There are degrees of brain damage. Parts of the brain can be functioning while others are shut down or dead. If the trauma is mild, a person might recover in a few weeks. If it is serious, they might never recover. The longer someone is in coma, the less likely the chance of recovery. The body develops serious bedsores from the inactivity and muscles must be stimulated so they don’t completely atrophy. There is a great deal to consider.
People in the comas and on life support are between worlds, so to speak, and you as their living family and friends are, in a sense, between worlds with them. In my experience there are reasons people linger in these in-between states. They did not cross over immediately because something is not finished. Even if they have a living will, it can be wise to check in spiritually to make sure it still represents the current intent of the person lying in coma. You might be able to help them find peace so that they can make a decision.
Sometimes people become confused about what they want or they are waiting for clarity. Some linger on this side because they can’t bear to leave the people they love and even feel pulled by those they love. Some would love to be integrating fully into their bodies, but can’t imagine the physical and emotional recovery they would have to go through. Some feel the bliss on the other side of the veil and don’t want to return to their bodies, and some remain here until those they love the most can finally, in their hearts, let them go.
What we may not realize is that they do have an ability to make a decision and communicate it in some way to whoever most needs to know, even if that communication is made through dreams. Sometimes, we just need to open the door spiritually for that communication to occur.
The first step is to open to what their spirit wants. This of course, means lovingly surrendering any attachment to what you might want or think would be best for them. It is challenging to do, but necessary, in order to truly respect their wishes.
The second step is to let them know that you honor their wishes. It will be easier for them if you can truly support them in one of the most challenging decisions of their life—their own right choice.
I recommend using the Creation Meditation. It is a simple and beautiful way in which you can lovingly and compassionately hold your feelings about her condition, until they quietly dissipate. When the powerful emotions have been acknowledged, clarity emerges. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=75.0
Or use whatever form of meditation or release work that allows you to feel at peace.?? When you are at peace and clear you are in a perfect position to then hold them in spirit with their own feelings about this. Your compassion and clarity will be a space through which they can find their own self-love and clarity. When their energy is very clear, you will feel the guidance about what to do in the physical world to honor their wishes.
When you are clear and without attachment, you can invite the spirits of other family members and friends into your compassionate energetic arms to find comfort. After all, this must be a very difficult time for everyone. Love without judgment is a space in which each person also has an opportunity to find peace and clarity.
For those of you that have active engagements in the dream time, you might want to invite the person in the coma to visit with you in your dreams, whenever they wish to come. This can become a channel for communication, helping you understand their struggles and concerns. You might even be able to listen attentively in the dream-time so that they can sort through their fears, and make a decision about returning fully or not returning to their bodies.
If you are reading this thinking, “Misa, maybe you can talk to the spirit of a person, but I can’t,” you may want to reconsider. Every person I have met has a spiritual gift and that gift allows each of us to connect intuitively to spiritual insights and connection to others. The question to ask yourself is this, “Am I willing to receive their answer?”
If you are not willing, then perhaps your own hurt and fears deserve your loving attention. If you are, then all you need to do is open your heart and mind to their message. Knowing what they want, allows you to be free of any doubt. You can act in accordance with their deepest desire, honoring their sacred choice to wait or to release.