The Skyline Arch at Arches National Park, Utah, USA. Photo by Sanjay Acharya

Rage and Mercy

terry's grandfatherMy father's father is dying tonight in a way so ghastly and unfair that I can't seem to bring myself to see the sense in it. 

And I can't think straight.

He's in a great deal of pain.  Has been for about 36 hours now.  If I could think of a way to help him end his life that wouldn't A) Be readily identifiable as suicide, negating insurance money for my grandmother, and B) Get me landed in jail for murder, I'd happily do it.  This is so horrible and undignified and is no way for such a proud man to die.  I don't want to go up there tomorrow to see this.  But if he can endure suffering, then I can endure maintaining a brief comforting vigil as his life leaves him.

I am, as of this writing, one hundred percent convinced that Jack Kevorkian is right.  When pain dominates, when all dignity is lost, and when death itself is not a matter of if, but when... then out come the needles.  What sort of civilized society, in full possession of the means to painlessly, calmly, and shamelessly end the suffering of its wretched people dying in agony, refuses to give them peace?  It's a right we grant to our pets on a daily basis.  How can we give this gift to ailing animals while denying it to people we love, and who've loved us?  Where is the sense in this?

terry's grandfatherWhen a man has lived for nearly 92 years, and pancreatic cancer has graduated to Stage 4, metastasized to his liver, destroyed his appetite, and then finally, agonizingly, sent gouts of blood flowing from both his mouth and rectum while his wife and daughter helplessly watch... is the best we can do really to stand by and uncomfortably allow it to happen?  As if to say to all in attendance, "Watch closely, everyone... for this awaits you as well.  Sicut nunc, sic eritis."

I call bullshit.

This is a shameful practice, rooted in millennia of dogmatic doctrine, the purpose of which is to save a soul or souls from an eternity in a hell that likely doesn't even exist.  Which makes about as much sense in this day and age as refusing to sail to the horizon for fear of falling off the Earth's distant edge.

I grow increasingly sick of this willful maintenance of ignorance.  When this happens to me (and, given my family's history, it's a strong possibility that this is how I will die), someone, anyone, please help me.

Because I, for one, have no wish to suffer as my grandfather now suffers for the sake of another's dated sense of morality.

Or, am I thinking straight after all?



blog comments powered by Disqus Writings | Essay | < < Random > >
Share |