Since Donnie's mother died in 1999, my mother has become the family matriarch. One sort of expects matriarchs to go on forever, and those who have read my book, Blest Atheist, certainly know that Ma was not a model mother but very abusive. Nonetheless, a mother is a mother, and a matriarch is a matriarch. One does not think about the death of either.
However, two days ago Ma, who has always been strong as a horse (comes from living on a farm), had a massive stroke that has paralyzed her right side and voice (extremely frustrating for her because she is a talker -- one listens, she talks). Today, the doctors determined that she cannot swallow and will need a feeding tube to live, but they are giving her the choice whether to have the feeding tube or not since she is coherent and can communicate by nods. There is also the complication that the surgery to put in the tube could be deadly because her high blood pressure is still not contained.
She was, at first, leaning against the tube but is now leaning toward it. The cboice is to battle on or rest in peace. It is rare that one really has a choice in which both versions are so different but can be right and natural.
While her 8 children would like to weigh in on the decision, of course, we are all giving her the space to make the decision without influence.