I often say that I ‘geek out’ on conflict. I know, the word is scary for many people, but for me I see it as an opportunity to better understand someone, to truly see what motivates them, what their passions are, and their fears. While I was in graduate school I was working at a hospice organization and watching my mom support her mother through old age and Alzheimer’s. Every day I encountered familial ‘conflicts’ that impacted individuals and the decisions they made at the end of their journey and I felt a heaviness. I would hear people struggle with their choices because they “didn’t want to disappoint their partner/child/parent.” One day I was talking to my mom and I simply asked, “What would Nana want?” and I realized that question probably isn’t asked enough.
I envision a supported journey as the opportunity to assist a loved one through what is potentially the scariest and most difficult choice of their life. The key being THEIR life. Whether we come out thinking we would have made a very different choice or not is not what matters, what matters is that we find a way to accept the choice of our loved one on how they want their journey to end. That we are able to join them on that journey, showing them the same love and support we did through every twist and turn that led to this point. We all deserve nothing less than that.