32. Death with Dignity

I want the right to say that I have nothing left to give. I want God to grant me the grace to exit before I am a burden, a vegetable, a useless form in an empty shell.

In party planning, Nyasha has been pushing for a pre death wake.  Parties are good.  I love party planning.  I am seeing a Day of the Dead theme, face paint, great Mexican food.  Maybe a yearly event… something that happens each year that I concede to stay on the planet, just so it doesn’t get morbid.  Maybe just one party, maybe five.

Without segue, our state has a Death with Dignity allowance.  When a person is terminal, when they are on the road to death, they can choose a date to end the pain.  It is not simple.  It requires paperwork, a waiting period between the choice and the date, and absolute conscious awareness of the person choosing.

Michele Plumb Stowell wish in preparation for death. A flowery photo of People wearing traditional costumes and make-up stand in front of an altar during the Day of the Dead celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, November 2, 2019.
Michele Plumb Stowell wish in preparation for death. People wearing traditional costumes and make-up stand in front of an altar during the Day of the Dead celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, November 2, 2019. Photo Credit: ETIENNE LAURENT, EPA-EFE

The Netflix show, Grace and Frankie, has an extraordinary episode where a friend chooses to stop battling cancer.  I cried when I watched long before my own diagnosis.  Babe, the character, had to use a form of personal suicide rather than a medical option.

Death with Dignity is not suicide.  It is controversial.  I am willing to hear arguments in either direction, but I have a strong belief already.  Terry Pratchett did his own research and interviews that are posted on youtube, beautifully done.  He was facing Alzheimer’s at the time, and would not be allowed to choose Death with Dignity at the point where conscious awareness/clinical sanity had left.

In incredible pain, with the body holding to the planet and the spirit ready to transcend, I want this option.  I want the right to say that I have nothing left to give.  I want God to grant me the grace to exit before I am a burden, a vegetable, a useless form in an empty shell.

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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