We’ve been following the tragic story of Bobbi Kristina Brown—Whitney Houston’s daughter— who was found unresponsive in her bathtub and hospitalized since January 31.
It’s a tragic story really. Not because of the fact of who she is, but because we don’t expect 21 year-olds to be in a coma… or a 19-year-old to die in a car accident… or a kid celebrating high-school graduation to accidently overdose.
The young are invincible. That is what we think anyway. And because we think the young will never die, more often than not young adults don’t have any estate planning documents like a living will or health care power of attorney.
I know of a couple here in Arizona who several years ago had the horrible experience of having one of their 19-year-old twin daughters become severely injured in a car accident. Because she was an adult, the parents could not get access to any of her healthcare information. So as their daughter lingered in a coma, they had to petition a court to become her legal guardian. A decision that would allow them to make legal and medical decisions, including whether to withdraw life support.
What a horrific decision for her parents. A decision that many parents cannot make, including them. So far, they have chosen to have their daughter remain on life support in an irreversible coma.
I had a friend growing up who suffered a severe heart attack and had a stroke. He has remained in a coma ever since. His parents have never been able to make the decision to let him go. And so he is still with us, but not really. His parents will no longer even allow him to have any visitors.
This type of tragedy has struck my own family. My nephew stopped breathing before his first birthday and fell into a coma for three weeks. He has been in a persistent vegetative state ever since. He is now 25. He receives fluids and nutrition through a tube and has breathing treatments every day.
If only we could learn that our children are not invincible, they are not super-heroes. Some will die or be terribly injured way before any of us are ready to say good bye.
As parents, it our job to teach our children life skills and to share our experiences; to protect them as much as we can and help them prepare for the unexpected.
I don’t know if Bobby Brown ever had these conversations with Bobbi Kristina after her mother’s tragic death. For his sake, I hope he did.