Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Not an easy choice, but it should be a choice.

We had dinner with relatives of Hubby on the weekend, and during a conversation Hubby reminded his uncle (who's a widower for the past three years and doesn't have any kid) he would be willing to help him to have his choices/decisions respected at the end of his life.  This uncle lost his wife to cancer, and since then he's been doing his best to have a law passed or something of the sort (he's done a petition, went on TV to talk about his cause, attended summit, etc.) he's done a lot to get dying patients the right to die in dignity.  He didn't like the way his wife was treated at the end of her life, which is what triggered his whole battle for dying patients.

When I read Robert's post, it reminded me how far behind we are in regards to this issue.  It seems to me dying in and with dignity can be a luxury almost.  It's sad.  Shouldn't it be our choice to make?  We choose how we live our life, so why not the way we exit it?  I know it raises a lot of issues, but like we do for our everyday life, they are rules to respect, limits or criteria to meet, so once we do, why not let us decide?


I do know it's a fine line. I can't phantom the idea of having to be the responsibility (or chore, often) of someone.  The idea of me suffering, in bed, unable to move, feed myself or even go to the toilet without help is too much for me.  I don't want to be this dead weight for anybody, especially not for someone I love. I don't think it would be fair.  Neither Hubby nor I want to be in that position nor to put the other in that position.  This is not the way we want to go.

Hubby often talks about a pill (the recipe is supposedly online) he'd chose to take if he'd reach a point where he wouldn't have quality of life.  We're not talking about normal aging, but if he was sick and his life had very little quality.  I'd want him to go.  From experience, I know, I wouldn't want to see him suffer.  I would respect his choice and most of all his life.  Maybe because I grew up with a suicidal parent, but to me our exit is just as important as the life we live.  I know what pain and suffering does to one and to the rest of the family.  Life should be lived, I agree with that, but I also think there is a point where life at all costs isn't right. 

If you haven't yet, thought about the end of your life, take a few minutes and do it.  The perspective it brings, makes one realise that life should be lived.  When we can no longer enjoy life or live our life, then maybe having the peace of mind of knowing we can die in peace and respect of our choices, that must be something else.  It won't make the idea of death easier, but I'm pretty sure it will tame many of our fears towards our final exit...

5 comments:

Steph said...

If death is imminent, and one is in pain, then I think it is the humane thing to do. Touchy tough subject!

disgruntled tenant said...

Earlier this year I met my favourite author, who has gone public with his intention to end his life. While I'd always intellectually supported the idea, it was a very strange feeling altogether to talk with a man who I so desperately want to live, and still support his decision to die.

What's worse is that due to the laws in his country, he will have to travel to another country to do it, which means he will have to do it sooner than necessary so that he's still well enough to be allowed to travel. It shouldn't have to be like that...

Australia briefly legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory but the law was overthrown. There is a big push to make it legal again, and I think it will happen sooner or later. Most people I know support it.

cinnamon girl said...

^ disgruntled tenant is me....

I left another comment as well but blogger ate it :-)

Marius said...

We have a wonderful organization here in the US called Hospice. When a patient is terminal, such as my mother was, and further treatment is either futile or unwanted Hospice takes these people in, cares for them, and helps make their last days or hours as dignified as possible. They made a terrible time for my family a bit more bearable, but they do not actively facilitate death. I don't know how I feel about euthanasia. In my heart I think it should be allowed, but I also know that there are vermin in the world who would find ways to exploit it. It's a very, very tough call.

Meg said...

My husband I talked about that after the death of his grandmother. She ended up dying a horrible, painful death several weeks after her family made the decision to not take her off life support when she was in a coma for weeks. It is a tough subject to talk about, but you're right. It's definitely something that needs addressed.