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Imagine choosing to die

My good scare in the fall prompted me to think about the possibility of a relapse and the reality of dying. While I am grateful to have a solidly clean bill of health, I have been thinking of dying lately.
I have been fascinated by death since I was a kid, completely curious about the mystery and mysticism held only by the guarantee that with death comes with living. Age has brought the conclusion that much of the mystery comes from our own fear driven by the unknown of what comes after death. Granted, much resistance surely originates from leaving loved ones and wanting to finish more in this life.
I am a benefactor of our health system’s effectiveness, a system that is almost exclusively focused on prolonging life. Is there a time when we no longer prolong life? Is there a time when we expedite a person’s death? Is there a time when we can reduce suffering and the waiting for an inevitable death, which may or may not be painless? These questions require a lot more discussion in Canada.
I won’t pretend to be well informed on the issue of euthanasia, but as an advocate for patient and individual rights, I know it is an issue that is deserving of more attention.
I’ve confronted the reality of my death on many occasions; it comes with the territory when you’re diagnosed with cancer. My comfort with dying varies. The better I feel, the less comfort I have. It is fair to say these days I have great discomfort with the idea of dying any time before I’m 85.
Regardless of when my day comes, I hope I am able to make choices that reduce my suffering and that of my loved ones.
We’ve got some work to do in this country if that is to happen in my lifetime. And the sooner, the better. In the meantime, I’m not going anywhere for a while.
Live life. Love life.

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