william peace where are you?

July 21, 2014 at 2:17 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

early in the first stages of this blog I spoke about the right to die with dignity.  there had been a show on dr oz with terminally ill patients who wanted the right to die with dignity.  it roused real anger in my heart to hear some in the audience say things like just let them stop eating, drinking or taking their medication.

I wanted to scream at the t.v. and ask why should the ill have to suffer even more to end their suffering? William peace was in that audience and gave me a different perspective.

now I have passed the 6 year mark and I am so grateful for that gift. I am also not as sure as I once had been about the timing of such an ending. let me start by confessing I had a little meltdown the other night.  it was just this feeling that came over me and I felt myself just slipping away from this journey.

for a short time I sat in the living room with our cats.  then I felt like I was making a choice and if I wanted to stay, to hang on here I would need to connect with my love.  the thing that happened next made me realize how afraid I am for him.  there is absolutely no fear in death for me it is all about who is going to take care of him? who is going to help him navigate a world that is changing and he doesn’t understand what is happening.

clearly I would never ask him to be involved with my choice to leave on my own terms.  there are certain things I feel we have no right to ask of those we love.  to know that he will go on after I am gone makes a difference in the choices I make. it isn’t that I feel he can’t replace me or be happy without me.  as a matter of fact I am so hopeful it will be just the opposite. I hope for him to have many happy years with or without me.

does anyone know how to turn off this auto capitalization? I have never capitalized the I and so each time I see it happen it feels like I am being inauthentic somehow. being my last thoughts, feelings and words it important that they belong to me and are written in the form my comfortable to me.

bottom line I am learning that leaving is not as easy as I originally thought it would be.

Permalink 16 Comments

awesome, amazing and tragic

October 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

while on our trip to canada we would laugh and ask how many times can you use the word beautiful in one day.  every where we turned we were in awe of the beauty and splendor before our eyes.  for some time now i have been aware how over-used or not used appropriately the words amazing, awesome and tragic are.

i was witness to the most ridiculous use of the word tragic on t.v.  first i must confess to the occasional reality show.  for the past few years i have watched a show called big brother.  it is a great background show.  i can turn it on and do other things only stopping when something interesting happens.  i almost didn’t record it this year and after this experience doubt i will watch it again in the future.

i heard the word tragic and stopped what i was doing thinking something truly tragic has happened.  rewind and there is the twenty something contestant saying that this girl being kicked out of the house was the most tragic thing ever.  so let’s recap, he met her on the show a few weeks ago, she was voted out of the house, they would be seeing each other at the end of the show.

i couldn’t watch, even in background, anymore.  tragic? tragic is a young mother who battles the odds her whole life and then dies leaving two sons and a bereft mother.  tragic is a young woman who is paralyzed and decides to starve herself to death because she can not end her life with dignity thanks to a few who control that decision for her.  tragic is the stoning of a girl after she was raped.  there are real tragedies in life.  young men dying in a war they don’t understand, alone and a world away from those who love them.

since day one i have never thought of my impending death as a tragedy.  i raised my son, was blessed with step-daughters, my sister is at an age i won’t worry about her, i have been married to the love of my life and it has been a gift beyond all gifts.  this path has not always been easy but life is not meant to be easy.  i have never, even in the worst of times thought my life was tragic.  i have seen real tragedy.

awesome and amazing are used interchangeably.  for some, pizza can be awesome.  i always thought this word related to awe-inspiring.  pizza has yet to inspire me.  my grandmother was awesome and amazing.  she had a 3rd grade education, she raised two children on her own after my grandfather died.  at the age of 36 she was a widow with a boy who contracted polio but was left with only a limp to remind him and a daughter who was disabled by it.  my mother ran off and then wanted to come home when being married wasn’t what she was expecting.  it only took her a few months to decide this. when she came home she was expecting me.   a few years later she met my dad and married. they went to california leaving me with my grandmother.

she never complained. she took care of me the best she could.  this woman with no real education  made sure her own children would have one.  my mother chose to go to business school and my uncle went to the university of arkansas.  he went on to become the head of the european division of the army corp of engineers.  she was so proud of them both.  i know she was proud of me as well.  she was awesome and amazing.

maybe when a young man says his lose is tragic, for him it is.  he has never known real tragedy.  maybe we need to think before saying something is awesome or amazing.  my life has been one heck of a ride.  i have seen and experienced others who are truly amazing and i don’t want that to be diminished by comparing them to pizza.

i am going to post more pics of our trip.  it was one of the best experiences of my life.  i appreciate that i had this opportunity.  to anyone i have labeled awesome or amazing i want you to know i meant it.  these are not words i use lightly.  i have met some truly amazing people on here and continue to be in awe of them.

Permalink 11 Comments

final exit network, william peace i think i get it now

November 20, 2012 at 4:21 am (assisted suicide, death with dignity, frontline- the suicide plan, how does it feel to die, how to die in oregon, the dr. says) (, , , , , , , , )

william peace is a well-known activist and we have had some discussion over our difference of opinions.  after watching dr. oz i wrote about my feelings regarding the right to die with dignity movement.  i received a well thought out and informative message from william.  at the end we both felt it was important for reasonable people to sit down and have, as we had, a reasonable discussion.  what i could not agree with in the end were two main points.  first i will never agree that just because one person believes a certain way they have the right to thrust that belief on me.  for example, some believe it is a sin to take your own life. i have heard it said that only god has the right to decide who lives or dies. my question is what about those of us who do not believe in god? we do not share that certainty and i do not believe those that do believe,have the right to tell me some entity i don’t believe in is going to make this decision for me.

the second was i did not believe as william does about a slippery slope.  my understanding is if we have the right to die with dignity then somehow (i am not sure of the details) people with disabilities are at risk for being euthanized.  until seeing  Frontline-show this seemed a bit murky to me.  the show outlined once again how some states are allowing assisted suicide and others are prosecuting these cases.  the first person followed is an 80-something woman with advanced lung cancer.  she has made the decision to end her life.  the group Compassionate Choices were all set to help her.  she had purchased the medication needed and knew what she was going to take and in what combination.  her husband said he was catholic and would not do this himself but felt she had the right to die the way she wanted to.  this all was in line with my belief in the right to die with dignity.  next was the story of a woman named jana.

jana was a 50 something year old woman.  she believed she was terminally ill. in fact she was not.  she had gallbladder surgery years ago, she thought she had breast cancer, she thought she had high-blood pressure.  there were a couple of other ailments on her list.  this list was submitted to the Final Exit Network.  ostensibly the list was reviewed by a physician who approved her for assistance with her suicide.  someone from the network went over how she would make a hood, connect it to a tank of helium, slip it over her head and turn on the gas.  they would then remove the hood and the tank so people would think she had died of natural causes.  her relatives were suspicious and called the police.  from there it was discovered just how she had died.  here is the thing that shocked me, as i see this list i realize she is not terminally ill, although she had claimed to be in horrendous pain.  some say this pain whether real or not caused her life to be not worth living.  her sister testified that jana was mentally ill and did believe she was dying, she had believed this for many years.  my mind is still trying to make some sense of a dr. approving her for assisted suicide.

of course another way of looking at this is to understand how important regulations are.  if this were legal as it is in oregon and washington this kind of thing would not happen. any dr. that prescribed the fatal cocktail would be under constant scrutiny. only patients who are terminally ill would be eligible.  as long as it is illegal it will remain like back alley abortions.  when abortion is legal it is safe.  whether we agree with that choice or not is not important. a woman has the right to decide what happens to her body. too many women lost their lives and their ability to have children in the future just because one group of people wanted to tell others how to live their life.  as with the right to die, abortions are personal choices that do not infringe on the lives of others.  i understand the argument and yet i do not agree. i am concerned here about jana and how many  like her are being “helped by these groups who claim to aid/assist only those who are terminally ill.  how many jana’s have there been?

the following are taken from the websites for the afore-mentioned groups.

this is from the Final Exit Network:

Our Guiding Principles

We hold that mentally competent adults have a basic human right to end their lives under the following conditions:

  • they suffer from a fatal or irreversible illness or intractable pain,
  • they judge that their quality of life is unacceptable to them,
  • they judge that their future is hopeless.

compassionate choices is another organization developed for the same cause.

Compassion & Choices is the leading nonprofit organization committed to helping everyone have the best death possible. We offer free counseling, planning resources, referrals and guidance, and across the nation we work to protect and expand options at the end of life.

For over thirty years we have reduced people’s suffering and given them some control in their final days – even when injury or illness takes their voice. We are experts in what it takes to die well.

William Peace, i understand your concerns now.  i now ask how many people like jana has this organization assisted to leave this life too early?  any dr. could have easily evaluated her request and understood she was not a candidate for their final exit plan.  mr. peace i hope that you will continue to find the strength to fight for the jana’s of the world.

Permalink 32 Comments

christina symanski, whitney houston, how to die in oregon, the comeback, and so much more

February 17, 2012 at 12:41 am (assisted suicide, choice, christina symanski, death with dignity, how does it feel to die, how to die in oregon, the comeback, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

let me just warn you that I am about to go on a rant, like non you have experienced here before. so you have been warned.  you know that I have very definite views on most issues so this will come as no surprise.  there are some constraints though and it is out of love for you,  there are some things I do not want you to question after I am gone. many times I have said ask me what you want now while I can answer and have those conversations if we need to.  in “the comeback” by shane hodge, shane takes the time to have these conversations with his mother and it left him in a good place.  it left him with pleasant memories and gave his mother the chance to share what we as parents hope to pass on to our children and loved ones.  some participate on a larger scale as in the documentary “How To Die in Oregon.”  this is my outlet for that desire to be understood.  most of my life it has been to my confusion and at times amusement for people to say who i am.  very sure of their interpretation people will say I am quiet while others think that is far from accurate, some think I am serious, others not so much.  I have been seen as someone who observes and analyses while others not knowing my profession find me the least judgemental person they have ever met.  does anyone ever truly know us?  do people simply make up their mind who we are and then make our behavior fit that mold as a detective decides someones guilt and then makes the evidence support that?  it is my observation people tend to want us to be who they think we are and do not want to be confused with the truth.  I can tell who I truly am and those that know me will say “oh no that is not true at all” as though they know me so much better than I know myself. 

here is a hint about who I am,  ah so here is the rub … see I was about to write about something that happened when I was young and would have made an excellent example of how I chose not to judge others.  it is  an incident that few know about and it is not something I would want my family to read here for the first time.  some know about it and hopefully they understand how it defined my life as a turning point and aided me in deciding how important my choice to look at things from all points of view has been.  it shocks me that I am struggling with my feelings now to understand how we have come to this horror story (Christie) and still choose not to have a responsible conversation about the right to die with dignity. this is where the rant begins, you have been warned, look away if you need to, it is about to get ugly.

let’s start with how we as a society feel it is our decision who dies and under what conditions.  who decides what is “life worth living?”  is it not our personal right? how about the constitution ???? life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  if my liberty is the liberty to end my life what are politicians doing trying to decide this for me?  and we are off!!! politicians!!!  mostly republicans and christians, these people are fine people, it is not my intent to label all republicans and christians.  please be sure to read this part over if you need to. NOT MY INTENT TO LABEL ALL REPUBLICANS AND CHRISTIANS!!!!  it is my intent to point out some theories that I personally find difficult to understand.  some people want to abolish the social programs that assist our poor, they also want to do away with birth control??? so have children you can’t afford but don’t ask for assistance? do I have that right?  say “get a job” really?  those “job makers” don’t seem to be making enough jobs and with the growing population that is going to be a bigger issue in years to come.  also our truly impoverished are children, that’s right, children. gingrich has the fix for that though, just put those poor kids to work! that’s right forget about child labor laws, go back a few years when children were sold in to what was essentially slavery. sweat shops anyone? guess that would give the break to those job makers that they need. no need to pay children living wages.  more women can die in childbirth so that would help with population control I guess, in the end it really is a win- win for the very rich.  however, they just scream gay marriage a few times and people don’t really hear what else is being said.  some say they want LESS GOVERNMENT, then they want the government to say who can get married, there is also the desire for the government to decide if a woman can have control over her own body or do we go back in time to men telling us what to do and say? will it stop there or will we be protected from big decisions like having the vote? owning property? what else is the government ready to decide for us?  oh yes they want to tell us whether or not our life is worth living.  silly me! why should I have the right to die with dignity??? there must be some reason that other’s need to make that choice for me. of course I may not be able to decide without being talked into it by well-meaning family members.  they are standing by the bedside ready for me to make my exit. it is only fair to them and so I must do as they want since I am weak-minded and do what others want me to do.  this is a decision I can not make on my own, and my family can’t be trusted, so gratefully the government is here to make that decision for me and every other human who thinks and wants to be in control of their body.  no I am not worthy of a dignified exit from this life.  the government wants me to suffer whatever indignity I must to satisfy those who don’t know me and don’t know what my life is like. 

the argument of people might end their life out of concern for their family or caregiver is beyond lame to me.  first I want to say so what if I choose to think of them? is it not the loving thing to do?  they suffer as well and as I have chosen to think of them and be concerned for their happiness in the past is it so surprising I might think of them now?  it is not a deciding factor, however, it is a piece of a very complicated puzzle.  people are crying over whitney houston and frankly I am confused and a little annoyed. this woman made the choice to use drugs, have children and then subject them to domestic violence and a home with an addict.  how is it more tragic for her to choose death, yes I know it is a disease and yes I think she made her choices.  life was too easy for her.  show up stoned and people feel sorry for you, if you are rich and a star.  if you are poor you are getting what you deserve.  we are cutting rehab programs for the poor so the message is:  if you are rich it is tragic, if you are poor too bad and no stars will be mourning your death. there will be no tributes on 60 minutes, oprah will not speak out about the loss to us all, you will just be one more junkie that the state had to bury.

Christine died months ago and yet we are just now seeing a story about her.  she was not rich, she was not a star, she was a girl who did a stupid thing and ended up a quadriplegic.  she is not the first and sorry to say she will not be the last.  she was a bright young woman who did not choose to continue living under her circumstances.  disability advocates say if we give someone like her the right to die with dignity( assisted suicide) it is a slippery slope and soon society will be rounding up all disabled persons and killing them.  this seems a bit far-fetched to me.  even if I agreed with having some guidelines as the person must be terminally ill there is then the argument that family will persuade the patient to take this drastic step. how that is seen to play out is not something I want to think about.  if physicians were allowed to assist it would add  another safety measure  to the process.  I do not see assisted suicide in my future as I would never put my family in that position, even if it were legal.  in “how to die in oregon” there was an experienced person to be the actual “assistant”, they stay with the patient a bit before and then give the patient the cocktail, they then let the family know they can join their loved one or not as they choose. it is quick and everyone knows what to expect.  goodbyes can be said.  the person is asked a few questions to make sure they understand what is about to happen and that it is still their choice.  this takes all the responsibility off the family. if certain members don’t want to be there it is their choice. if someone wants to spend those precious moments with the loved one they can.  christie was denied this option.  people who don’t know her decided if she wanted to end her suffering she must suffer to do so.  no dignity here, no quiet loving goodbyes and then a letting go and moving on with peace.  she had to suffer for nearly a month.  the only way for her to die was to refuse all medications, food and fluid.  can you even begin to imagine the last days, weeks of her life?  she was given no other option here,she could  live what she believed to be a tortured life or be tortured to death. a long and agonizing death and what did she do to deserve this????  since she was a quad she could not allow anyone to assist her by giving her the cocktail that would have released her from this suffering. no she would have put them in danger of being prosecuted, they would have been criminals for being merciful.  if we are not merciful then who are we?  we talk about gods mercy and wanting to live a godly life.  would that not include mercy for this suffering girl?? 

it breaks my heart and yet I know that I too may have to make some hard choices. do you think she wanted her family to suffer what they had to? they stood by her and nursed her while watching her slowly and painfully die in a most undignified manner.  that is what we are deciding not just for christie but all the christie’s, all the terminally ill who just want to leave with their dignity in tact.  for the families to of these people to suffer watching this unfold and not being able to ease the suffering of the loved one.  this is what some want to decide for all of us.  christie is not the first to endure this and she won’t be the last, there will be no headlines, no 60 minutes and no oprah mourning any of us.  we are not rich and famous.  we are just people who want to make this one last choice for ourselves.  as free and liberated members of a free society.

Permalink 7 Comments

To Resolve or Not to Resolve? and a few last words for 2011 from 2012

January 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm (choice, christina symanski, gratitude, hope, NLP, the bad cripple, the comeback, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

word association has been of interest to me for years longer than my psychology career.  how we go from one thought to another or retrieve unused but stored information in our brain fascinates me.  even before my teaching years NLP ( neuro-linguistic programming) made perfect sense to me.  over the past few years there have been many studies of how we store and learn information.  while teaching, this gave me a way of helping students who were struggling, if it is understood how this individual learns and is taught in that form, there is a better chance of success.  this is all relevant now as I am trying to decide what thoughts to lead with and how to keep them all in some relatable form.

 the death of Christina Symanski has been a bit of gossamer that can’t be cleared away.  the only way for me to move forward,  is to put it in perspective.    perspective is a word often used by those who don’t actually have the ability to use it.  when speaking to someone who has gone through a life changing event the best thing is often to put this event in to perspective.  recently a man was sharing with me that his mother had announced to him she had been molested as a child.  he was quite  off put by this and in his words “shut her down.”  my advice was solicited and given.  it would have been more productive if this woman could have sat with an old friend or therapist to discuss this event.  if she still felt the need to share this with her son then she could do so from a position of perspective.  he felt she had just dumped this on him.  this goes back to how much do we share and with who?  just want to add that in my opinion the recent news of boys being molested in her home town (Pennsylvania) was a contributing factor in her anxiety.  having the chance to put this event in to perspective at the time would have aided her over the years.  it still goes back to my question of what is the motive for telling someone about such an event?  if it is just to make you feel better, stop and think this through.  what do we want the outcome to be?  more than one cheating spouse has said they had to tell the other as they deserved the truth.  this has seemed a bit cowardly to me.  some burdens must be carried by us alone, in my opinion.

there has been very little information regarding the passing of Christina.  do we really need to know more?  it is a tragedy her family and loved ones will have to find their way through.  it is doubtful she could have lived for a month without food and water.  food yes, water no way.  does it matter if in her blog, looking back, that there were hints she might end her life?  these were her decisions and no one else can tell us if our life is worth living.  no one can give you a reason to be hopeful if you can not find one in yourself.  this is a tragedy that is played out daily around the world yet we have given much time and thought to this one individual.  is it due to her perceived good life? she was an artist and very active in the spinal cord injury community.  does examining her life reassure us we would not do the same thing?  we see a person who has been taken advantage of and say it wouldn’t happen to us since we are smarter and wouldn’t put ourselves in that position.  the old “those people vs. us” theory?

in my search for others going through similar circumstances it has been my good fortune to find much more than that.  it has been an inspiration to read of how others are caring for their loved ones with either terminal or life-long illness/disabilities.  still others have the disability and are living their life to the fullest in their own way.  so 2011 has come and gone.  it was a good year and it leaves me hopeful for the next year to come.  being hopeful is as important to me now as it has been throughout my life.  that optimism has sustained me over the years and I trust that it will continue to do so.  our hopes  adjust to the situation.  knowing my time is running out means I won’t be hoping for that promotion ( no longer working) or the big trip (no longer taking trips over a few hours and no flying at all).  hope still lives here though, it is in the hope of being remembered, of leaving a legacy that will be passed on.  the hope of still having some good days, being a good friend and companion to others, these are my hopes now.  do I still make New Year’s resolutions?  yes I do.

so now we come to the point of this post, making resolutions or not.  this is a personal choice and yet I read with interest the blog hosted by Shane Hodge, the comeback.  his post was regarding making these resolutions and what it says about us if we don’t.  this man is on fire and has much to share with the rest of us.  shane wrote a book by the same title and I am in the process of reading it.  briefly what he shares is how he came to his own  comeback.  through conversations with his dying mother certain truths became more evident to him.  his mother was able to leave this legacy due to his ability to hear what she was saying.  this is my own hope to leave a legacy with loved ones that will be remembered.  to know that your philosophy on life is being honored can be our greatest accomplishment.  

 after reading an article about resolutions shane wrote about his feelings and what this said to him.  the poll said that more people are not making New Year’s resolutions, the reason given is they felt nothing could change for the better.  they were expecting more pain and bad news for the coming year.  the following is from the comeback site.  “I’m going to sit down and write a nice long list of all the stuff that I no longer want in my life next year. I’m going to write a list of all the things I want to achieve next year, I’m going to create and commit to a bunch of New Years resolutions. Why am I going to do that? I will do it as I refuse to let “Oh Well” control my life and I can make sure that happens because?      I believe in Miracles.” (from Shane Hodge w/permission)

this led to my own poll of who is making resolutions and why/why not?  for now I am going to go rest and come back later.  this is unusual for me to post more than once in a  day but I have much on my mind now and this helps.  the other reason is one of my cats, chloe, is making it very difficult to ignore her.  posting a pic which is also new for me. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Mourning for Christina Symanski: Better Off Dead?

December 14, 2011 at 2:15 am (assisted suicide, choice, coping, death, death with dignity, family, hope, how to die in oregon, life is random, moving forward, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

anyone watching “how to die in oregon” could come away with several thought-provoking ideas.  one that, in my opinion, was fundamental to the documentary is the choice/ability to change ones mind.  if you opt for assisted suicide or ending your life with “dignity” there will not be a chance for that very basic tenet.  until recently I have held firm that it is the right of the individual to make that decision for themselves.  in my mind there are qualifiers, you must be terminal, in your opinion( and not the opinion of others) your life has ceased to have meaning or dignity.  it is still my belief that one person can not understand the full gravity of another humans suffering….

that is until I became aware of Christina Symanski.  if you are upset easily with what may seem to some as a harsh interpretation then I ask that you not read further. if you do please keep in mind that it is one persons opinion, mine, and that is the only one I can voice here with real understanding and honesty.  initially the reaction to her decision was the standard not for me to judge. it is not my intention here to judge her as a human only the decision and what it was based upon.  she truly suffered, in the blink of an eye she made a rash decision and paid for it dearly.  in 2005 this young woman was at a party, she became frustrated that others were not going for a swim and so she dove into a pool that was not to capacity.  as a result her life as she knew it was ending, it could have been a beginning and for some that is what it would have been.  only another quad would be able to have more than a cursory knowledge of this way of life.  yes I said way of life, it was different from what  she had experienced so far. to some it would have been a change in lifestyle, to her it was the end of life as she knew it.  on a smaller scale my own experience took me from extremely athletic to sedentary.  this was not by choice and certainly took adjustment.  while not on the same scale it gives me a glimpse some may not have.

on the outside Christina appears to have so many reasons to value her life, yet she made the decision to end her most precious gift.  having a mother with a serious disability gave me a different understanding of how to cope with obstacles.  even now with numerous health problems and post-polio syndrome marie does not consider( to my knowledge) ending her life.   the question that seemed to repeat itself throughout her blog was why me?  it has been my choice to ask why not me?  the what if game can lead to crazy making thinking.  it is my belief we are where we are supposed to be at any given time so it would stand the what if does not have a place in my life.  certainly that does not preclude learning from mistakes.  there have been many along the road and I anticipate making many more.  it gave me a chuckle, and I hope I can be forgiven here, to read about a man with Parkinson’s who fell trying to something he wanted to do and yet most certainly knew it would not come out well in the end.  I laughed and laughed, not at him but at myself and how we give up such ideas only when faced with very real danger.  at times my physical being is so weak that I trip and fall quite easily.  last year while my husband was away it was my belief that I could go down the few stairs in front without holding on. what was I some invalid?  out I go and down I go, very hard it should be added.  over the front and into some hedges, as I lay thinking of my humiliation it occurred to me that the neighbors could not see me due to the hedge.  so taking my time I eventually made my way to a sitting position, drug myself to the stairs and in time back to the house.  a few days later, hubby still gone, it seemed reasonable to try again. of course I had learned my lesson and was prepared mentally if not physically.  was I none the wiser? well yes and no.  as I began to fall it occurred to me that the army training would be valuable about now.  so I looked to the side of the porch and pitched my body that way as it would be a softer landing.  it was farther down but it was softer.  the farther down part made it a bit more difficult to maneuver back to the porch, however being in one piece gave me spirit of heart.  until his return the garage became my exit and entry as it was easier and safer.  

 laughter seemed to be missing from her writing.  it is not that she didn’t experience laughter it just occurred to me it was absent in a way I can not explain.  although she was involved with good works, was able to continue as an artist and had time on her side, she must have been so sad.  not sad  in the common way we may feel sad but down in your heart and soul sad.    the kind too many are not able to recover from.  

this one time I will allow myself the what if question, what if this young woman had been able to wait, and our system of healthcare could have given her another option?  was she just destined to this end? that is one possibility, there is no hope in that answer. no hope is really what killed this young woman.  she will be remembered by many, for as many different reasons as there are people.  she will be remembered here in this house and her death has given me more  questions  than answers.  a life gone too soon. her choice.  I will respect it was her decision.  like every decision we make it will continue to affect others.  those that live are those that live with our decisions.

Permalink 1 Comment

dr. oz, montel williams and the “Bad Cripple”

November 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm (assisted suicide, choice, death with dignity, dr. oz, euthanasia, how to die in oregon, montel williams) (, , , , , , )

it is my hope that anyone reading this will not misunderstand my intentions.  in no way do I advocate for assisted suicide. now, having said that I want to share that one of the comments left, was done so by William Peace and he has a blog named the bad cripple.  after approving his comment I sent Bill an email, he responded much more quickly than I expected and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised.  it would have been so easy to just delete his comment as he does not agree with me and my interpretation of the dr. oz show.  Bill was in fact in the audience that day. as he stated in his email he was offended, that the discussion had been one-sided and the audience had been whipped into a frenzy. those are his words and he gave me permission to use his name and the blog name.  if you are inclined to do so I recommend checking it out.  the more we listen to others and their perspective the better.  this country needs to wake up and have an open mind or we are never going to solve the problems facing us as a nation or as an individual. 

How To Die In Oregon is my ideal for showing the issues facing terminally ill humans.  Bill recommends that we simply deny life saving treatment if we want to end our life. he goes on to say (in his blog) it is more about how we live our life and his concern that there is a slippery slope to another holocaust where we as a society start just putting people “down” as they do not fit some standard of life.  sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! I would encourage a national and statewide vote on this issue.  why would I need to suffer even more by refusing treatment and thereby the indignities that it brings with it?  it is not my intent to ask someone else to assist me with this moral dilemma. would it be a comfort to me to have those I love accept this choice if it is the one I make? absolutely! would I ask them? NEVER!!!  this is about having the right to end one’s own life with dignity, this is not about putting someone else in harm’s way.  even if it were legalized is it moral?  the person choosing to die would not have to live with that decision. the person/persons that are left behind are the ones who will carry this burden. 

I can not say what I would choose as I am not at that point, I can say that it is my right as a human being to leave this life with dignity, I have tried to live a good life and will not leave this life any other way.  so please read at least one post by the bad cripple and get another perspective.  it is my firm belief that it is a personal choice, it would be comforting to know I could turn to a professional and say this is what I am thinking about.  I can’t do that thanks to the opinion of others who have made that choice unavailable to me.  this seems harmful in a major way, if someone could talk open and honestly with their healthcare provider they might not want to use the option of assisted suicide. left feeling abandoned and no one to turn to would seem injurious to someone already fragile. 

my mother had polio as a child and is truly crippled by it.  she has 3 daughters and growing up with her it never occurred to me that she would be better off if she took her own life.  that is one reason I don’t worry about the slippery slope.  we are smart enough to make the distinction between someone with a debilitating terminal illness and someone who is disabled.  maybe i just have more faith in my fellow human beings.

Permalink 3 Comments

thank you dr. oz and montel williams

November 3, 2011 at 8:43 am (assisted suicide, death with dignity, dr. oz, euthanasia, hope, montel williams) (, , , , )

finally an open and honest exchange about the right to die with dignity! dr. oz hosted a show with guests including Montel Williams along with everyday people who are facing terminal yet long-term illness. the audience included advocates for the right to die with dignity as well as opponents. one opponent was a man who has a neurological disease that has left him without any physical mobility and yet he is an advocate for the disabled and feels strongly that life is a gift from god and should only be ended by god.  a similar story was a woman who has been degenerating from the same disease for several years and is tired, feels her life is a living hell and wants to have the right to an assisted suicide since she can no longer take this step on her own.  it was heartbreaking to listen to her and her family talk about how empty her life is and to hear her plead and cry for a dignified ending to her life. she no longer feels her life is of quality and her dignity is long gone in her view.  for some her pleas fell on deaf ears, they felt their way is the righteous way and could not make room in their heart for the alternative or her right to that alternative. 

montel williams spoke of his unbearable pain and of sitting in his closet with an array of guns, his idea was to shoot himself and have it mistaken for an accident while cleaning his guns.  in the end he decided not to go do that to his children. many years ago when I lived in an apt a friend of mine was very upset because his ex-wife was getting ready to leave and take their son back to her home in southern california. for some reason he had the idea she would stay and they would work things out. he talked non-stop of his love for his son the whole time I knew him. this day we had all been at the pool, he got out and said “I’ll be right back” those were the last words his son would hear his father say to him. my friend went in to his apt and we heard a noise, I knew it was a gun shot and ran to the apt.  he had stood in the shower and blew his brains out.  I am not sure how his son who was 4 at the time was affected but I can imagine. as a parent it seems most cruel to leave that kind of legacy for a child to live with.  although montel was suffering I am relieved that one less child will have to live with that burned into their memory.  I could however respect if the alternative was available and he made that informed choice. who am I to decide whether or not someone elses life is worth living or that their pain is bearable? 

what can be confusing to me is so many say “less government” is what we need yet they want the government to decide if I have the right to end my life.  we can smoke which shortens our life and those around us, we can overeat, we can engage in dangerous sports and we can own guns that are misused and kill innocent people. we can not decide when we are suffering beyond our capabilities, decide to die with dignity vs. with tubes and diapers.  I am in no hurry to leave my life as it is now.  I have a will to live and be happy that some are not so blessed with. that does not give me the right to decide if I can do it they can too. Chris and I were talking today about this issue, we had watched the show together and one of the great things that will come from this show for many people is it will give them an opportunity to talk about a subject seen by many as taboo.  I appreciate that for whatever reason I seem to be on the long side of life expectancy while others go downhill so quickly.

it is rare for a show life dr. oz to risk this kind of show. some will be offended and he may lose viewers, I applaud him for taking this risk and opening up the dialog that needs to be happening in our society.  after watching and discussing this show we went to the nursery and bought some plants for spring blooming, yes I can talk about the eventuality of dying in the morning and planting bulbs that won’t bloom until spring:) it is a gift to honor both possibilities. we continue to plan trips that can’t always be taken just in case they can and plant bulbs that may not be seen just in case they are.  no one can give me hope, it is something I have by choice, just as no one can decide when someone else’s life has lost hope.

Permalink 6 Comments

%d bloggers like this: