My roommates (Gary) mother passed away Friday night, she was just a few weeks short of 97 years old. She had been in hospice care for about three weeks and in the nursing home for 18 months. She had been unconscious for over a day and had quit being hungry or thirsty several days prior. Chances are she died peacefully in her sleep. I first met Gary’s mom probably 14 years ago and she was this frail little old woman with a beaming smile and a glint in her eyes. She was sweet and yet stuck in her ways. Even back then I remember her expressing her dissatisfaction with living as long as she had “no one should live this long” she would say.
I don’t want to live that long, hell I think I can accomplish most of what I want to do in the next few years. The older you get the more problems you’re likely to have, no matter what your physical fitness level your bones will start to strain more, your teeth will start to fall out (mine are already doing a great job of falling apart) your system starts to react differently than it has the previous forty years. Nature is saying, hey – that’s enough now, we need fertilizer. Who am I to deny nature, whose idea was it to want to keep living longer and longer. Foolishness.
I have a few friends that I’ve talked with about such things and we’ve even discussed the possibility of getting cancer or some other life threatening disease and not fighting it, I mean really why would you put all that poison into your system to maybe live another ten or twenty years – seems ridiculous to me. Friends who have had cancer say “You can’t say that, you haven’t been there.” I haven’t played ice hockey and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do that too. OK, maybe that was a silly answer, but I’m pretty sure if the moment came I’d just let the disease have me.
If they’d let me.
See the fear lies in the people who think they know better, the ones that help to influence laws to say we don’t have a right to die when we’re ready. If I was faced with a painful life-threatening illness and wanted to end my life – there are laws that say “Oh No, you can’t kill yourself that’s immoral” or some crap. Remember Dr. Kevorkian? That guy helped people die, not people who were depressed or spent all the law firms money and were looking for a way out, but the ones that were actually dying or living in such pain that death was a solution. That man was sent to prison for 10 – 25 years for helping people die, for putting voluntary people out of their misery. We’re one fucked up society.
Anyway. I’ve talked to a lot of people about dying and coming to the end of their journey. One friend expects he’ll live another ten years max as his parents both died at that age. Several friends have no desire to be hooked up to machines that help them breathe or stay alive in any fashion. More than one friend has expressed interest in denying treatment if they were diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Most of these folks are happy with life as it is but have done what they wanted to do in life. These folks have lived their lives like they wanted to live them and are happy, surprise surprise.
I’m not generally happy, but I’m content with my choices, accomplishments and story. I’m ready.
3 thoughts on “Death and Dying #death #dying #righttochoose”
I’m not ready to die. It scares the hell out of me. And to be honest, I have only had about 3 good years out of 49. You would think given that, I would be ready to go to the big casino in the sky and cash in my chips – but I’m not. There has to be some happiness somewhere up the road. Time will tell I suppose.
Well, it is now four and half years later and my life has gone from really bad to absolutely unbearable. After enough reading and self-educating on death and dying I am absolutely ready to die. I know once I am gone there will be no pain. There will be nothing. There is no afterlife, just an eternal sleep that finally will relieve the daily anguish. If it were not for my wife and step-children I would have ended my life within the last year to year and a half – but I will not cause them more pain by putting a suicide in their memory. At this point in time I wish I had stayed single, leaving the option of suicide on the table. It’s not like I have a single blood relative who would give a damn. But this about me, not them, and as such my siblings and father will have little to do with where and when I cease to exist – mainly because they don’t give a damn.
On a philosophical level, I accept that death (and in general, loss) is a part of life. I can deal with the knowledge that life is finite and that I will die someday, even acknowledging that I have no clue what happens next, but generally believe that the lights go out and that’s it, I’m dead. But like Lindsay, I’m not ready yet. I’m not sure I ever want to be ready, unless I’m in a lot of pain with no indication that it will ever go away. Then, I think readying oneself to die might be the enlightened choice. Until then, I hope to be too busy living.