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父亲的遗愿

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小编摘要:与临终的父亲告别,无疑是人生中最痛苦的事。

父亲的遗愿

父亲最终决定,去世时一定要在家里,这要感谢对面病床上的人。父亲没和他说过话,也不知道他的名字。不过那个人咽气时还没到探视时间,房间里只有他和父亲两个人,父亲只能呼叫着护士,眼睁睁地看着他在孤独中死去。父亲说:“人死的时候不应该是这个样子的。”一年以后,父亲也去世了,不过他临终时的情形和那个人完全不同。
It was the man in the hospital bed opposite whom we have to thank for my dad’s decision to die at home. My father never spoke to him, didn’t know his name – yet when this man passed away, it was outside visiting hours and so he died alone under a harsh, neon glare with only my father there to ring for the nurses. “That’s not how it ought to be,” said my dad. One year on, his own death could not have been more different.
最初父亲抱怨被苹果核划破了喉咙,几个星期后,他就被诊断出患有食道癌。当时他64岁,此后的几年里他饱尝病痛折磨,而希望在家里离世也是他能做出的为数不多的决定之一。
After weeks of complaining that an apple core had scratched his throat, my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. He was 64 and his wish to die at home was one of the few decisions he was able to make in the traumatic year that followed.
得知父亲的初步诊断后,我急忙驾车前去,想在病房关门之前赶到伦敦南部Tooting的圣乔治医院。我们知道父亲得了癌症,但是一定会有办法治的——手术、化疗……一路上我信心满满,父亲一定能挺过去。不过刚一看到父母的表情,我的心就彻底凉了下来。
Just after his initial diagnosis, I remember racing to St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, south London, before the ward closed for the night. We knew he had cancer but surely there was lots that could be done? Surgery? Chemotherapy? I arrived full of determination that my dad would beat this thing. It took one glance at my parents to rid me of any notion that my father was going to survive.
医生告诉母亲,父亲的癌症已经全身转移,肝脏和肋骨上都出现了肿瘤。就算化疗能延长父亲的生命,他最多还能活一年。晚上把父亲一个人留在医院,我和母亲实在不忍。我们站在拥挤的电梯里,父亲伫立在缓缓合拢的电梯门口,和我们挥手告别。直到现在我仍记得,电梯门完全关闭之前我们对视的那几秒钟,我是多么努力地保持微笑;电梯门关上,我再也控制不住自己的情绪,旁边的陌生人都尴尬得默不作声。至于我的母亲,她在战争时期长大,早已学会了坚强,这次仍然表现出她的隐忍。
“He’s riddled with it,” is how the doctor had put it to my mother. The cancer had spread to my dad’s liver and ribs and although radiotherapy could extend his life, he was given a year to live at best. Leaving him there that night was unbearable. As my mother and I squeezed ourselves into the overcrowded lift, my father stood at the closing doors waving goodbye. I remember the extraordinary effort it took to keep a smile on my face in those few seconds before he slid from view and I could let myself go amidst the embarrassed silence of strangers. My mother, brought up during the war and made of sterner stuff, kept her pain to herself.
父亲是BBC广播4台的制片和编剧,也是个会魔法的家长。他为孩子们在花园的尽头创造了一个童话世界——Bonfret;他让我们的童年生活全是有趣可笑的角色,我和姐姐伊萨贝尔、哥哥乔纳森都成了“庞克”。父亲还绘声绘色地告诉我们,身边有许多看不见的人物,形象各异:格尼夫人举手投足都很滑稽,西莫80高龄仍喜爱跳舞。我真的不愿相信,我才25岁,就永远失去父亲创造的美好世界。我一直以为自己还小,还没来及为父亲生一个外孙,而他却一直憧憬着。
My dad was a magical parent. A BBC Radio 4 producer and playwright, he filled our childhood with fun and ridiculous characters. My elder sister, Isobel, elder brother, Jonathan, and I were “the ponks”. There was a fairy that lived at the end of the garden called Bonfret. And then there was the myriad of personas that my father would assume, each with its own special voice: Mrs Gurney, who had funny turns, and Seamus O’ Disco who was 80 but still liked a good dance. I couldn’t believe I was losing all of this at 25. I didn’t feel grown-up enough – hadn’t had the grandchildren he would have entranced with his imaginings all over again.
我用了很长时间说服自己:父亲不会这么快离开。很讽刺的是,他的癌症已经非常严重,却因此躲过了手术的折磨,因为手术治疗已经基本上没什么用了。所以他在医院待了几天以后,又回到家里。刚退休的父母在几个月里还能探亲访友、出去旅行。但医生的预言几乎要应验了。
And for quite a while I managed to kid myself that I wasn’t to lose him. Ironically, the fact that my dad’s cancer was so advanced meant he was spared the trauma of surgery. So just days after leaving him at the hospital, he was back home again. For several months my newly retired parents were able to visit friends and travel. But the original prognosis had been almost spot on.
确诊一年以后,父亲已是骨瘦如柴。他基本上什么都吃不下。除了床上的警报按钮,父亲还摇晃一个旧牛铃。这个牛铃是我孩提时代在列支敦士登度假时买的。直到现在我还能记得,有一次夜里我被牛铃的响声惊醒,发现父亲正在楼梯尽头无法自控地发抖。我满怀愧疚地耍了小孩子脾气,把他扶回床上躺好,很快为他冲了个热水袋。后来我才意识到,我非常害怕看到父亲当时的样子,我当时那么做,是为了掩饰我当时的惊恐。
One year after his diagnosis, my dad was skeletal. He barely ate. Instead of an alarm button by his bed, he would ring an old cow-bell that I’d bought as a kid on holiday in Liechtenstein. I can remember staying the night once when I was woken by the sound of this ornament. I found my dad shivering uncontrollably at the top of the stairs. I guiltily regressed to a stroppy teenager as I walked him back to bed and then grumpily made him a hot water bottle. It was only afterwards I realised I had behaved like this to shield him from my horror at finding him in this state.
有时实在不忍卒睹。记得有一天父亲拒绝进食,母亲非常生气,就像对待一个难缠的小孩。父亲终于同意吃了一点,但马上吐了一桌子——咖啡色的液体。母亲收拾的时候,父亲绝望地说:“我不知道我怎么了。”母亲低声应道:“你知道。”父亲是内出血,从那以后,母亲再也没逼他吃过东西。
Sometimes it felt intolerable to watch. I remember him refusing to eat one day and my mother getting exasperated, as you do with a fussy child. When he was finally persuaded to have a tiny amount, he promptly threw up dark brown liquid all over the table. “I don’t know what’s happening to me,” my father said desperately, as my mum cleared up the mess. “You do,” my mother gently replied. He was bleeding internally. She never pushed him to eat again.
那个时候,我和哥哥姐姐尽量轮流陪夜,母亲负责在白天照顾父亲。父亲希望死在自家床上,全家五口人也因为这个遗愿紧紧联系在一起。父亲生前最后几个星期,因为事情太多,当地医院派护士来照料父亲,麦克米伦癌症慈善机构也提供了夜间看护。
By this time, my sister, brother and I would take it in turns to stay over whenever we could, while my mum coped day after day – all five of us bonded by my father’s wish to die in his own bed. When things got too much in those final weeks, the local hospice sent nurses to care for my dad and the cancer charity, Macmillan, provided night staff, too.
我们很幸运,父亲把想在哪里离开人世的愿望告诉了我们。根据麦克米伦的资料,42%的初级保健信托都没有记录下患者希望在哪里去世。如果医院没有询问患者这个棘手的问题,患者的家人一般也不会主动告知。因此,每年有数以万计癌症患者想在家里去世,却死在医院里。所有初级保健信托中,只有一半提供不间断的社区服务,而且这个比例随着经费削减还在降低,很多人因此无法实现在自己生前居所离世的愿望。父亲能实现这个愿望,真是非常幸运。
We were lucky that my dad had told us so clearly where he wanted to die. According to Macmillan, 42 per cent of Primary Care Trusts do not document where patients would like to die. If hospitals don’t ask patients this tricky question, there’s a very good chance that families won’t bring it up. So there are tens of thousands of cancer patients dying in hospital each year despite wishing to die in their own homes. And with only half of all PCTs offering 24/7 community care — and the number is likely to fall with spending cuts — where you die can depend on where you live. It turns out we had been winners in this postcode lottery.
一天清晨,麦克米伦的夜班护士把母亲叫醒,说父亲出现了间断昏迷。当时我也在家,被这个突然的消息唤醒——“你父亲已经昏迷了。”母亲之前一直很镇定地安排好一切,但那时她目光呆滞。我知道,父亲的最后时刻就要来临,如果我不打电话给其他家人,他们可能来不及看最后一眼了。
The Macmillan night nurse woke Mum early one morning with the news that my dad was slipping in and out of consciousness. I was staying over and was woken with the strangely offhand news that “your father’s in a coma”. Mum’s eyes were glazed over. She had coped so well with everything up to this point but I realised that this was a step too far and that no one was going to arrive in time unless I made the calls to the rest of the family.
家人陆续来到父亲床前——哥哥、姑姑,姐姐最后赶到。伦敦糟糕的交通让我们真担心她赶不回来。现在我还能记得,父亲怎么从床上起来,呼唤我们的名字,想知道是否每个人都在。我不知道他是不是还能认清我们,但对他来说,去世时所有亲人都在身边一定非常重要。除了比爸爸年纪还大的姑姑因为身体虚弱而无法到场,其他亲人都到了。
One by one they arrived to sit on my father’s bed – my brother, my aunt, and finally my sister. There was panic when she got held up in London traffic. I can remember my father waking up and calling out our names to check if we were all there. I don’t think he could see us properly but it was so important to him that no one was missing. Only his older sister, herself too frail to travel, was unable to be there.
接下来发生的事情就像维多利亚时期人们临终时的一幕。父亲平生低调,但那时异常清醒,唤着我们的名字,说他有多么爱我们,拼命地亲吻我们,直到一次又一次耗尽精力而昏迷过去。三周以前,他对我说过:“我还没准备好死。”而那一刻,我想:他准备好了。渐渐地,父亲两次清醒之间的时间越来越长,呼吸也越来越微弱。我在他两次呼吸间数数,我记得数到了11,然后……父亲不动了。母亲在父亲患病期间一直控制着自己的情绪,那一刻她趴倒在床边的地上,嚎啕大哭。后来她说:“如果在医院里,我就不能这样了。”
What happened next was like a Victorian deathbed scene. My father, so self-effacing in normal life, would wake up, call our names, say how much he loved us and blow kisses, before succumbing once more to the exhaustion that was pulling him away from us. “I’m not ready to die yet,” he’d told me three weeks earlier. Now I think he was. And slowly the gaps between his conscious moments grew longer — his breathing became shallower and shallower. I remember counting between breaths. I think I got to 11 and then… silence. My mother, so in control of herself throughout his illness, began crawling round the bed and howling. Later she would say: “I couldn’t have done that in a hospital.”
父亲给每个孩子留了一封信,要求在他死后才能打开。他给我的信上写着:“我不想离开你们——我痛,但我在你们中间。”弥留之际,父亲明白自己已经别无选择,而这正是他的心里话——他希望离开这个世界时也有亲人陪伴。至于我?虽然这不会减轻我失去父亲的悲痛,但他临终时床边的一幕永远留在我的心里。
“I don’t want to say goodbye — I ache to stay,” my father wrote, in letters he’d composed for each of his children, to be read after his death. But in the end, when he knew he had absolutely no other choice, that’s exactly what he did want to say. He wanted a proper farewell. And me? I can’t say it made missing him any easier but that scene at his bedside will stay with me forever.
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2011-12-07 12:01 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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