Of the many adventures, today finds me hanging out with a very nice man who suffers from dementia. He looks similar to Anthony Boirdain. You can tell he’s a very smart fellow, you know, before the dementia. Owned a number of businesses, did really well for himself. Traveled the world over for business and pleasure. Made and raised a large family. Again, all before the dementia brought him here.
I’m not sure what point I’m angling for in relaying the story. Larger life lessons, “in the end, we all end up blah blah blah.”, “In the grand scheme…”, “Life is short.” But I’m not interested in waxing tropes. Let’s steer this an a more practical direction.
My man, who struggles, struggles hard to string together coherence, among the thoughts he pieces together is a weighty one. Through stutters and pauses and logic circles he finally communicates: he doesn’t want to burden his family, he would like to end it.
This tugs at the heart strings. Of all the things he has to concern himself with and with diminishing faculties, the remaining of his thoughts are euthanasia. The nuances of which I had the honor of exploring with my man today. Less so for philosophical sake, more so to ease his anxiety. I’m not sure if it worked, but I think having company to share it with helped.
His points: I lived a good life. I don’t want them harmed. I’m deteriorating, it’s hopeless, why not now? Why not save everyone the trouble?
The practicality of it seems logical, sure. But the emotional heft can’t be ignored. There’s a responsible way to handle all this, I’m certain. None of which is my place to say.
The whole of the interaction is humbling and resonates deeply. I am grateful to share this time with him.
My points. You’re points are valid. However. You owe it to your loved ones who, have put a lot of time and effort into you, to try. If you do decide to do anything like suicide, you make sure to include the family in that conversation. They deserve that much. Passively, aggressively, passively-aggressively no unilateral suicides.
I see plenty of people who come through the hospital in the midst of suicide. Some planning, some drinking/drugging, some willfully sitting like a potato as the world services them because of moral obligation. All these dudes need help and fuck the ones that exploit it.