Waiting to die.
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the
peace of God.
A Course in Miracles
My friend Elizabeth wants to die.
She is 90 year old.
Lived a long life.
Shook the hand of the last Emperor of China.
Taught school in the Dalles and Klamath Falls.
Driving around eastern Oregon in her Model T.
She feels abandoned by her family,
being the oldest child of parents
who were younger children;
foisting upon her the responsibility of parenting.
Her brothers and sisters never come to visit;
and now she is old, wanting to die,
waiting to die.
I sit with her in silent vigil
as she slips in and out of sleep.
Her body failing,
even with hearing aids struggling to hear my words.
Waking to see she is still in a life
she no longer wishes to live.
Losing the dignity of choice.
Being “a good girl” swallowing her pills
while her possessions await the fate
of heirs circling in anticipation.
I too am her heir but I do not care.
For more than 25 years I have been her friend.
Broken bread with her.
Yet I cannot give her what she wants:
“I would like the choice of dignified death by suicide using drugs.”
I cannot even give her what I would want for myself:
To lovingly continue this journey
free from the failures of age.
And so I ask, “Wherein lies the dignity
of taking the choice of continuing one’s life from one’s own hand?”
lloyd marbet, 1-3-99