Soon it will be 10 months since my mother died while under hospice care here at my home. Life and death can be so simple and yet so complicated. Death brings relief from suffering and a whole new class of suffering for those left behind. I think the worst of it was the family chaos. Family members who neglected my mother all of her elderly years suddenly demanded free access regardless if she was up to it or not. It ended up with myself my husband and niece shouldering the burden of not only her care but protecting her through the dying process. Everyone deserves to die in peace. That’s the least we should have to cope with. I mean, we are dying! Can anything get harder that trying to die in peace with dignity?
Her passing has caused me to look into death with dignity i.e. giving the dying the choice of when and how to end it. Up till now I felt that physician assisted suicide was wrong for many reasons. One reason was that depression could factor in to the decision, depression that may be treated with medicines. As the saying goes; suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The problem with applying this is that it is backwards in someone dying. Dying is the permanent solution to temporary suffering. When one gets to that point where there is no turning back, no drugs or surgeries are going to fix this just suffering upon suffering, the individual should be given the choice. After watching my mother die a slow horrible death from cancer I now see things differently. No wonder people prefer to shuffle their elderly loved ones into lonely often horrific care facilities to die alone. Dying is ugly, it can be hard on everyone and takes great fortitude to help someone die at home.
Here’s a heads up; morphine doesn’t help agonizing bone pain in the end. I did everything I could to ease my mother’s suffering but with each turn to clean her she moaned in wretched pain. She had to be moved we had to clean her. Hospice gave her more morphine but it didn’t work. They need liquid narcotic pain relievers that’s all there is to it. They also need liquid anti-nausea medication because they can’t swallow towards the end and the narcotics may cause nausea. The end comes too slowly, it’s a horrible process. After going through this I was terrified of my own death. My health is bad, I have life threatening chronic illnesses. This is how I came to believe in physician assisted suicide. No one should have to suffer like that. We would never have allowed one of our dogs to suffer like that.
As a follower of Jesus’ teachings I wasn’t sure how God felt about physician assisted suicide. I do believe my God is a God of unconditional love and mercy. Would Jesus have walked by someone in agonizing pain and do nothing? He healed, he wept for our suffering. Sometimes death is the ultimate in being healed and every death is different. As a follower I don’t believe death is the end. As an empath I know it is not.
The dying need beautiful light during the day and calm dark during the night. They need someone there almost all the time. My mother would often look over at the chair I and my niece would sit in just to see if we or one of our beloved supporters were there. They need their pets to visit with them. They need family around them but only those they spent time with and enjoyed being around. What happens is people live a lifetime not telling the truth about how they feel about someone. That person may have no idea the dying persons true feelings but those close friends and family know the truth and the dying need to be protected from unwelcome visits.
Watch the video free below and think about these things if you haven’t already. One thing for sure is we will all face death so we all have to deal with this issue. My mother was 82 when cancer took her from us. I can’t say for sure what she would have done if given the choice to take a drink and die quietly without the long days of conscious misery but I know now what choice I would make. I can only hope it is legal in my state when my time comes.
Watch free online http://ffilms.org/how-to-die-in-oregon-2011/