The weekend started out pretty well. My lab tests, which I had been stewing over for weeks, came back okay. The Spokesman showed great ethical and moral courage in admitting they had not handled a major story in the best way possible. An NIC student, defending himself in a guest opinion piece in the CDA Press, came to the astute conclusion that there are usually three sides to a story - yours, mine and the correct version, which is usually somewhere in between. And that it was time to move on.
Then came this morning's e-mail. A long time friend and business associate of my husband's had passed away Friday. It was no ordinary passing. It was a "Death with Dignity" doctor assisted suicide in Oregon. Suicide. No matter how you look at it. I've never experienced anyone close departing in this manner. I'm having trouble getting my head around it.
Within days of taking early retirement several years ago, she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She fought back from it more then once and each time we saw her she was cautiously optimistic. The last time we had an e-mail from her, however, she indicated she would call - it was too painful to peck at her keyboard. She didn't call. We knew there wouldn't be another heroic effort.
I've been thinking about this all morning. How do you plan your own death? How excruciating must be the pain, the anguish. To sit down with your husband, your loved ones, and say, "This is what I want to do..." I cannot begin to imagine.
To take that last dose knowing it was in fact the last. I'm not sure I could do it. But she did. All the philosophical and ethical questions rushed into my head. They won't go away. Somehow it seems so clinical, so pat yet there is obviously a time when enough is enough. I would guess it takes some pretty lucid thought even when in extreme pain.
All that is stirring in my mind now, however, is for naught. My friend is gone. She is no longer in pain. May her loved ones find peace.