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.

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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.

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Dr. Phil and euthanizing disabled adult children, this is why people fear euthanasia!

April 18, 2012 at 12:23 am (dr. oz, dr. phil, dying, euthanasia, how does it feel to die, living, living will, Terri Schiavo, the bad cripple) (, , , , , , , )

while we were gone the dvr was running.  on these long nights where sleep is more than elusive and even with 400 channels there is nothing to watch!  just before chris goes to the dentist i turn on the recording of dr. phil.  this was not your every day dr. phil.  for once he did not give any advice.  the only commitment he made was to say he would not want to live the way this mother’s adult children were living.  both of this woman’s children suffer from a debilitating disease.  it all began when they were very young, it gradually took them away from what most of us would consider a life worth living.  this is a question each person must ask and answer for themselves, what does it mean to be living?  video was shown of her adult son and daughter. both have feeding tubes and can not eat even puree food.  the bags are hung and over several hours each receives all the nutrition needed to sustain life.  the son has not eaten in 17 yrs and the daughter has not eaten in 5.  the mother asserts that they do not have any pleasure and may not even have pain.

the mother does not go to visit her children regularly as it is so upsetting to her.  this is understandable and until someone walks in her shoes please don’t judge her.  she was accompanied by her attorney, he was dr. kevorkian’s lawyer.  obviously he is an euthanasia advocate.  the problem here as i see it, she let the feeding tube be inserted when she had the option to withhold feeding for them.  now she wants to give them a lethal injection to end their life.  many would say she should have then and could now remove the feeding tube.  she doesn’t want to see them suffer any more. it may also be a factor that she is getting older.  does she worry who will care about them when she is gone?  they are blind, maybe deaf and have little brain activity if any.  one woman in the audience just kept saying “these are your children.”  well she knows that.

since most states consider ending your life with dignity illegal ,the only way to legally end their life is to withdraw the feeding tube. a slow torturous death at best.  to ask her to watch her children die this way seems cruel and unnecessary.  the same argument was made on the dr. oz show.  many disabled individuals see this as a slippery slope and after watching this show I have a new understanding of what mr. peace tried to share with me.  since the feeding tube was inserted at the time and there was full knowledge of what lay ahead for these loved ones it seems to have reached a point of no return.  this is not like teri schiavo since she had made it known to others what she wanted and her husband just carried that request to its end.  as children they could not say we do not want to live this way.  they depend on the kindness of loved ones and indeed strangers.  the law allows her to remove the feeding tube and yet not make the end easy and loving.

the question for me is if for some reason my own family was faced with the decision to take steps to keep me alive would they be able to say no?  even dr. phil made the observation he would not want to live under the conditions that these two people are.  why aren’t we having more discussion about this?  how do you have this discussion with those you love?  is there a segue to, do you think I have the right to end my life with dignity?  it is not an easy conversation and yet one that could make things easier.

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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. 

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