a matter of life and death


my sister-in-law number two (my husband has 2 sisters) has gone into labor and by the time anyone reads this- will most likely have had her daughter. my mom's health continues to weaken as her heart and lungs fight against time to keep her blood flowing and her life going. and the world continues to take life for granted. i am not sure what it is about humans that make them so, well, fickle. on the one hand, we have folks who fight tooth and nail for a fetus' right to live and turn around and fight just as vigilantly to declare war on another cultures' fetuses. strange. we don't have a choice when we are born. our parents got together and for better or worse- had us. should we have the right to die?

much debate has swirled around abortion and whether or not it should be legal- but what about an adult's right to die? who gets to make that choice? some believe it's up to a mythical being called 'god' and others worry about ethical and legal issues. but if you strip those considerations aside and think simply for yourself- would you want to be able to die when you chose? our culture doesn't like to think about dying much. perhaps because we are so very far removed from it. at one time, folks were up close and personal with their loved ones' deaths. they washed the bodies, made the coffins and sat wakes. then, they dug the hole and buried them. now, there are a whole host of folks who whisk the body away and do all of those things very clinically and loved ones get a shot at seeing a strange corpse to 'say goodbye' before cremation or burial. it's like we want to forget they are dead.

i can only speak to what i know and see and believe- i know that my mom says she has made peace with dying. i know that she would rather be healthy and stick around. i would rather she be healthy and stick around too but death is inevitable. none of us escape it. i would also rather that my mom not suffer needlessly. and if she chose to go, i would rather she be allowed to do so. assisted dying is a sticky widget. i have a feeling as our population ages- it may push a bit to the forefront. folks are living longer true- but we also have seen quality of life deteriorate for some and it really doesn't look like the health care system will be fixed in this country any time soon. not in a viable way. millions of folks won't wait to be told that they are allowed to end it. they just will. it would be nice to help them on a journey with dignity.

as for me, i would absolutely rather choose to die if i became ill with a terminal illness. the end result would be the same (assuming that we had exhausted the known medical treatments) and i would not want to suffer nor put my loved ones through prolonged suffering. i would rather folks celebrated my life and not dwell on my death. i think all of us would rather live. it's that human nature and survival instinct- but we also have it within our power to end life. and i think we are going to have to face that next obstacle.


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