We aren't very good at saying goodbye, or even knowing when it's time to. Our family is facing that right now with my Grandmother, and at this very moment critical decisions are being made. Just a few nights ago she had two strokes, and the night after a seizure. She is responsive and has made it very clear, both through a living will years ago, and comments in the past few days, that she wants to be allowed to die naturally.
But right now she can breathe on her own, pump blood on her own, but is having difficulty swallowing. Due to that, the doctors wanted to place a feeding tube to give nutrition and medication, and though she didn't want to, agreed to it with the promise that it wouldn't stay long. After just a few hours, she pulled it out on her own and doesn't want it back in. But her children, my mom and her siblings, are having a hard time agreeing to that. After all, she could regain all needed functions with therapy, or at least have a good shot at it.
But she is exhausted and ready. Her wishes must be honored. I can't help but think that if she could see past the exhaustion and depression that comes with a seizure, she'd want to live more life. Austin was exhausted, but we didn't get to take part in the decision for him. We didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. We wouldn't have said goodbye though, we would have stopped him. I hope my mom and my aunts and uncles and other family gathered around her can find a way to say goodbye when the choice has been made.
Goodbye's are awful, but I've learned that they're better than never getting a goodbye.