I am now just starting what I hope will be the last phase of this project—by which I mean the last phase before trading commences. It has been a very long haul starting in mid-July 2010 and interrupted by enough drama to feed a soap opera with material.
December 2010 to January 2012 constituted what I tend to think of as a ‘Year of Death,’ (actually 14 months) during which a truly alarming number of siblings and friends died. I think the total reached 18. I have never known a period like it before or since. The first to die was Jo Curran who I helped to look after in the October to December period before she killed herself under Washington States’s Death With Dignity act. She had been suffering from a particularly aggressive form of cancer.
Jo wasn’t even my friend (she was the friend of a friend)—though she became one before she did the deed. I interviewed her as well as a way of distracting her from her pain. It worked quite well. Joe did like to talk. She was a feisty woman and remarkably courageous towards the end.
So far, I haven’t much felt like listening to the recordings, but am giving though to doing so since nearly four years have now passed. I’m not afraid of listening to them though I know they’ll move me to tears. They’ll also make me laugh. Joe had a bawdy sense of humor and didn’t suffer fools.
At the end, I was once of small group of friends gathered around her bed—and watching her die was one of the saddest experiences of my life.
Did she do the right thing. I think she did. She was in terrible pain, was in danger of being paralyzed from the neck down as the cancer ate into her spine, and she had no change of recovery.
She did, indeed, die with dignity on her own terms at a time of her own choosing. We should all have that option. The most beautiful rainbow appeared after she passed.
I think of her often.