SPRINGVILLE — Years of suffering – and months of struggling with the decision to end it – had brought them here: To a bright white living room where three of their children lay side by side by side, waiting to die.
Les and Celeste Chappell loved the children, of course, and the thought of letting them go was excruciating, but holding on was just as painful.
The children – Christopher, 20; Elizabeth, 19; and James, 15 – had been ravaged by a ruthless neurological disorder that, over the years, had stolen their ability to see and to swallow, to move and to remember. Life support was only prolonging the inevitable.
So one Thursday in July, at their home in Springville, Utah, the parents braced themselves for what would become a long weekend of death.
Three hospital beds were set up in the living room with the cathedral ceilings and high-reaching windows that let in the streaming sun.
The three children were made comfortable with morphine and lorazepam, a sedative used to control seizures, and their parents started to pray.
Then they stopped the tube-feedings and watched their children, one by one, silently slip away. …
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Written by LINDSEY BEVER for The Washington Post. This story is published in part with permission from The Washington Post.
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