Like whiskey, age has improved my appreciation for life. Indeed, my love of life has increased by an order of magnitude more now than when I was a younger man.
Even now, when I hear Somewhere Out There from the movie An American Tail, as our family did in that tiny Kearney, Nebraska theater shortly before the death of my first wife that horrible Christmas season in 1986, tears gush down my aging face. The emotions are still raw and real and, more importantly, precious.
My dog friends Elvis and Zoey from across the fence bring me utter happiness when I feed them the treats that Joan selects for them with such care. I cannot describe in words the love I feel for our grandchildren. The old woman I am wed to reminds me each day that the souls of human beings can, if luck is with you, be bound together. My work, and especially the people I work with, enrich my life beyond comprehension. Buttered popcorn never tasted so good as it does now.
I do not want to die. But, I will. And, when I do, I don’t want to suffer and I don’t want the people who care for me to suffer. Over the last three years Joan and I successfully dealt with our respective cancers. We were fortunate to survive, but we witnessed many others die painfully after being eaten alive by that horrible disease.
The idea that my life, or the life of any other person, is punctuated by pain rather than peace is an obscenity. With these thoughts in mind, I ask you to read and ponder the Canadian Supreme Court’s recent opinion on physician assisted death. See Carter v. Canada here (“We conclude that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying is void insofar as it deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”)*
*H/t Howard Bashman and How Appealing.