If I may be serious for a moment…
I fully intend to write my usual light-hearted Monday post. But for the moment, I must to get something off my chest.
I heard from my stepdad on Friday. My mother is now in what they call “end-stage hospice,” where she’s being watched 24/7. He said she doesn’t even respond to him anymore. She doesn’t make eye contact, and if she makes any sound, it’s a grunt. All she does now is lie there and cough. She won’t eat. She reacts to nothing.
It could be days. It could be weeks. Or longer. Because despite the fact that her mind is completely blasted and her body is deteriorating, her heart beats on and on, strongly.
I can’t do anything about this. But I can say that I am furious. This is an absolute disgrace. No one should have to end a productive and vibrant life in such a degrading state. In this country, we treat our animals with more dignity and respect than we do our humans.
John and I don’t see eye to eye on this. He gets squeamish when I say I wish it would end. “You can’t wish people dead; that’s not right,” he says. I’m not doing anything of the sort. My mother died a long time ago. What exists now is a shell. I wish for that shell to rest, to join her spirit. I wish for the indignity to end.
My stepmother and I have been emailing about this a bit. She is a staunch advocate of end-of-life choices, and she has told me that her wish, should she have a terminal illness or lose her mind (and her dignity), is to be relocated to one of the pitiful few states in this country (what is it now, four out of fifty?) where euthanasia is legal. Fortunately, her husband and family are on board with this. She also told me about an organization called Compassion and Choices, and I intend to join it. I can’t afford to be a benefactor, but I will involve myself in it nonetheless, and fully educate myself now, while I still have my brain. Because I will not end up like my mother. I_Will_Not. There is no fucking way that I will end my life that way. I’ve spent the good years of my life living on my own terms, and I’m going to exit on my own terms as well, dammit. Quality over quantity. When life ceases to have quality, it’s time to say adios.
Sorry. Rant over. You may now return to your barbecues and whatever else you’re doing to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. I intend to celebrate my 16-year spankiversary tomorrow, and forget about this crap for a while.