I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

  • When Is The End Welcome?

I don’t entertain thoughts about death. Death might entertain thoughts about me but I don’t. I would never take my own life. I work hard to keep the one I have. I treasure life, the life I have.

When I was seventeen and living the hell and fear of my stepfather, I remember telling a friend “I understand why someone would want to stop living” but understanding it, didn’t mean wanting to end it.

And while facing a hard break up, I thought my life worthless without the person I loved, but I didn’t want to take my own life.

I lack the courage to end my life or maybe I still have courage to live it.

Is death ever welcome?

I have wondered if a person with a terminal illness will ever come to terms with their fate and if they will see death as a door they are going to go through with no fights. Is it ever a welcome relief, not feared but welcome?

Not long ago, I experienced severe pain. The pain was unbearable and would render me useless. I had it most of the time -24/7 - with frequent peaks. My company had recently moved 1 ½ hour away from home and while driving my friend would sit on the phone day after day to make sure I made it to work. Very simple, if the pain which resembled severe contractions came while driving I would have to pull over to throw up and often call to be picked up.

Life is so relative. Back then, when I felt good meant that I had pain but was not throwing up or unable to function.

This inexplicable condition went on for 6 months. In the middle of the night, I would escape to the living room so my kids wouldn’t hear my moaning or be awaken by the light in the bathroom every time I had to use it. My dog, Porkchop, didn’t get any sleep; he would wake up every time I got up to throw up.

It was difficult to plan anything. Any social activity had to be cancelled on the onset of pain. Having dinner was an event. I would park the car on the top of the hill to my house and allow the pain to overtake me before coming home. Once home, I would tell my kids I had a hard day at work and needed to rest. They never believed it. The pain was evident in my face.

Those nights awake in pain made me reconsider the quality of life I was lacking. What good was life if I couldn’t enjoy it? I was a burden to all. The doctors were baffled by my condition and that only made matters worse. If they couldn’t diagnose me, they couldn’t cure me. But I still didn’t want to end my life.

One night in the summer of 2005 I felt relatively good. By some strange coincidence, I insisted on visiting a friend that night. Later in her house I would collapse on her bathroom from severe pain.

Used to my pain, when calling my husband I had to tell him this time was different. “You need to come”. I said.

Facedown on the bathroom floor cold tiles, I held my friend’s hand and asked her to pray. She did and squeezed my hand. 911 was called.

As I was taken on the stretcher, I held my son’s hand. “I love you”, I whispered.

The pain was unbearable.

Hours later, while being prep for an emergency surgery, my husband awaited with me. He seemed calm. I was calm.

He had contacted my family but they wouldn’t make it on time before the surgery and the surgery…couldn’t wait.
We didn’t talk much. I had not much to say, neither did he. There was only one worry in my mind, I had not seen my daughter and if anything made me want to live was to see her again and not leave her with the memory of no good bye.

But other than that, I felt ready. Ready to end the pain. I was not afraid, I was not resentful. I was tired. I did not want to fight for a life that was no longer pleasant to me or those around me.

I felt calm.

If those were my final hours, they were spent with the people I loved the most except for my daughter’s absence. That in itself made the end of my life good.

That night marked a milestone in my life. If I had not insisted on seeing my friend that night, I would not have been so close to a hospital. I had not been so close to the ones I loved.

It also showed me that when the time comes, we are ready and there is no fear. There is calmness. There is love.

I had much love that night. Maybe that is what kept me alive.