Birthing A Good Death?

In the course of an online chat with my dad recently, he mentioned he was deep into a book he'd picked up at mom's oncologist's office - on euthenasia.

When your mom is not doing well (in fact, headed rapidly downhill) and your dad says the "e" word, time seems to stop. Can they be considering it? Is the future that grim? Or is it just being read about because death is lurking constantly in the background?

I didn't dare ask. My mind closed completely down on that one, and all I could do was discuss what the author had written for a bit before changing the subject. So I still don't know what thoughts are floating around, or not.

But it did get me thinking. Especially after chatting to my mom. She's having it very hard physically, with lots of pain deep in her bones and body at night, extreme exhuastion, itches and sensitivities, rashes and open sores. That alone is enough to break one. But she also has to deal with mental dips into deep dark places, a sense of hopelessness, the endless night hours when pain prevents sleep and the most horrible thoughts clamour for attention. In the early hours of the morning, one could so easily be tempted by a promise of eternal relief, ending it all, leaving the struggle behind. I know I would. It's hard to find hope in the cloying black night.

I don't think it's gone that far, I don't think suicide or euthenasia is even an option. Life is hard, but life is also precious. And she's clinging to life with everything she has, no matter how hard it is.

So why is dad delving into this subject? Should we be worried? I don't think so.

He talked of the author's view of a "good death", of ensuring that the body is not kept artificially alive to the point of complete deterioration, when the person it encased has long passed on. We didn't get into some of the other issues the book brings up. That was about enough to discuss.

Perhaps when one sees one's soulmate, one's lifelove suffering so severely, there is an urge to find ways of making their transition easy, of finding out as much as possible about each option, just in case. Of ensuring a "good death" in whatever way is required. A death midwife, if you will.

I'm speculating, wildly, all based on a single mention of the "e" word. When one stares death in the face this closely, it's hard not to get carried away. There's still a long road ahead, a long, hard road. It doesn't help to call up ghosts where none exist.