A good friend of mine David has always had a painful relationship to his father. To his whole family really, but especially to his father. When he came out as a teenager his father pretty much disowned him and he left the house long before he was grown because of it. All his life he's stayed in touch with his parents only to be constantly reminded what a disappointment he was to them. Miraculously, he has grown to be one of the most loving, generous people I've ever known (and I know some wonderful folks).
Over a week ago he was visiting his family in LA (he lives in Key West) when his father had a stroke and slipped into a coma. Rather than follow the original plan of flying back home the following day he canceled his flight and stayed at the hospital for the next week taking care of him.
It had come to the point where his family started discussing life support. His brother's were saying that he should be kept alive at all costs, even if it means him being in a coma and on total support because that's what he wants. David and his mother were both saying that he wouldn't want to be a vegetable and to let him go if the time came. His brothers were so bent on their view that they were trying to figure out how to have their mother deemed incapable of making decisions so that there's would prevail. I'm not positive, but as far as I know this would've essentially have had both parents institutionalized: one as a vegetable and one as a fruitcake.
During all this their father woke up to everyone's surprise. A couple days ago David was visiting him and telling him the story of all that and how it went down. His dad told him that he didn't want to be a veggie. Just then a nurse walked in.
Nurse: Oh, well who do we have here?
Dad: Son number 4.
Nurse: Well! How many kids do you have?
Dad: 4. 4 kids.
Nurse: Isn't that nice....
Dad: Pluses and Minuses, you know. Pluses and minuses.
Nurse: Is this one a plus or a minus?
(at this point another nurse that had been at the hospital all week and seen David there every day bathing him and taking care of him was coming in and heard the conversation)
Nurse2: Oh no, Mr Schofield, I think you misunderstood. She was asking about your son who's right here, the one who's been staying with you all week.
Dad: I know what she said. I know who he is. And he's a Minus.
Both Nurses appropriately gasped. What else can you say?
As which point David decides to just go home.
That night his father had another stroke and slipped into a coma for 3 days before passing away. That conversation with the nurses was the last conversation he had.
David's not going to the funeral. He's going to visit his mother in a couple weeks. I think he made the right choice.