|Image via Wikipedia|
|"Eight Portraits of Courage! We need room for a Ninth."|
Department of Courageous People, & Death With Dignity
I spent the latter part of yesterday afternoon in a meeting. Its purpose was the notarizing of various documents to do with a truly remarkable woman who I shall, for the moment, merely refer to as 'A.' She is a friend, a neighbor whom I have grown to respect and admire.
She is only in her sixties. She has had an astonishing life. 'A' is not the initial of her first name. I have chosen it because it stands for 'Adventurer.'
She is, as we speak – bar a miracle - dying of cancer; so the meeting was mainly to do with her will and what she wanted done if she was rendered incapable:
“Pull the plug!” conveys the essence of her message.
The affair could have been tense and generally miserable. In fact, it was surprisingly cheerful, largely thanks to A’s vibrant personality – despite her pain – and the presence of another remarkable woman, B., who happens to be the condo president. It also went on much longer than expected because the notary got stuck in traffic.
I felt very peculiar when I was asked to witness A.’s request to obtain the medication necessary “to die with dignity.” I was brought up a Catholic and to believe that life is sacred. On the other hand, if your cancer is so pervasive and severe that your death is certain within weeks, and your pain unimaginable, don’t you have the right to determine the time and manner of your passing?
I have no doubt at all but that you do.
I signed willingly; but inside I confess I just wanted to cry. I still do. Death is as normal as sunrise; but we need all the people of courage that we have. Sadly, the world doesn’t work that way.
Today, I feel a true mixture of emotions; but dominating all is a sense of real hope about the human condition.
We seem to be remarkably inept at the political level, but down in the weeds, where real people live - and die - there is true grit.