Right to Die a daughters perspective.

12th Anniversary 004

It was January 16, 2004.  I remember like it was yesterday.  I was woken from a sound sleep just after 11 pm.  We didn’t answer the phone. Instead we screened the call wondering who would be calling at that late hour? The screaming pain and agony in the voice on the recorder I knew instantly, it was my mom’s husband.  I had long known this day would come, and now it was here.  A sort of numbness ensued, perhaps a little bit of shock.  I took a few moments to collect myself before returning his call.  He was in near hysterics and there was little I could do but be the calm soft voice on the other end of the phone.  And so I was.. shelving whatever I did or didn’t feel because right then his pain was more important than mine.  There would be subsequent conversations, albeit not many, we were never close.  In fact I would not even say that we truly liked each other.  We got along.. because of my mom.

This was how I learned of my mother’s successful suicide. She shot herself in the head in the shower and her husband  found her.   She and I spoke about it many times over the years, and I always knew that one day she would actually do it.  She talked to him too, but he couldn’t allow himself to believe her even-though he knew better than anyone how much  she suffered.   She carried that gun with her everywhere.  It made me so nervous when we would go to lunch because I knew the gun was in her backpack.  She said it made her feel safe.  I knew that she needed it close for the moment she decided to go through with it.   I always asked her if she could just call or send me something to say good-bye?  She would tell me softly what I already knew to be true, that there wouldn’t be time once she got up the courage. So I accepted long ago that one day this call would come.

Now you are all probably wondering why I just accepted this and didn’t try to do anything about it?  Well I did try to do something about it, but the truth of the matter is there are some things you just cannot fix.  My mother did not just give up on life.  She suffered most of her life  before making up her mind, and even then she struggled with it. Not the act of doing it, but the pain that doing it would cause others.   She had been in therapy for as long as I can remember.  She had been to a multitude of doctors and had too many tests to count, some of them quite invasive.  Even exploratory surgery at one point.  She had some sort of stomach issue that would cause her to vomit violently nightly from the high amounts of accumulated acid and the doctors never could figure it out or cure it. It was so violent on one occasion that she even gave herself whiplash while vomiting.   She suffered horribly with allergies and a lot of the time could not even leave the house because they were so severe.   She had deep inner demons that she could not face despite all the therapy and soul searching.  Sometimes.. there are things that we just can’t get past.

Was she mentally ill?  She suffered from depression, and she was definitely ocd.  She tried many anti-depressants but could not deal with the effects of any of them.  For many of us, myself included, the side effects of the medicines that take away whatever issues we are dealing with can leave us in such a state that one has to ask, What’s the point?  For those of you who take such medications I know you know exactly what I mean.  I have hyper sensitivities and a myriad of other things I deal with. There are medicines that would make that part of my life so much better, but sadly, for me, they also take away all the parts that make life worth living, my passion, my creativity, all the good stuff.   So I  choose to find other ways to deal with said issues; but it is my choice; just as it was my mother’s choice not to.  I support that choice, and I am glad she is finally at peace.  I do wish she could have found that peace here in life, but for her that did not seem possible.  How selfish would it be of me to expect her to continue to suffer just so I can have her around??? If you ask me.. that’s pretty damn selfish.  That said, it does hurt. I think I am still grieving in part even today.  There are special times and moments that we will not get to share.  She did not get to attend my wedding.  I like to believe that she was there in spirit and that she was very happy.  I also believe that her essence lives on, and so leaving this place was merely a transition.  I feel she is still with me when she wants to be, but mostly I know she no longer suffers, and that means everything to me.

I do think we should exhaust every avenue before giving up. Generally speaking when people attempt suicide it is a cry for help, and help should be there for those crying out.  I did everything I could to help my mom but in the end I had to respect her decision.    I believe we should all have the option of assisted suicide, especially if we are terminal, but even if our chances just aren’t good and that’s the choice we make.  Have a party and say goodbye to our loved ones, wouldn’t that be so much nicer? Lastly, we cannot know anyone else’s pain, and it is not ours to decide whether or not they can deal with it, whether it is emotional or physical, or like in my mother’s case both.  Compassion and understanding are always in order.

25 thoughts on “Right to Die a daughters perspective.

  1. I agree. Assisted suicide for terminally ill I think is more humane than making someone suffer until nature takes it’s course. It’s sounds like your mother was never going to get better since they couldn’t even figure out what was wrong.

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    1. I kept hoping the doctors would figure it out or that she would make that breakthrough in therapy but it just didn’t happen. sighs.. Wow, I did not think you would still be up. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting. I went to your blog tonight..it is clearly going to require more time than I have left this evening. 🙂 So I shall return tomorrow.

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      1. Well, I watched my Aunt whither away to nothing while cancer destroyed her body. If at any point she would have asked to end it all, to end the pain, it would have been selfish to ask her to endure the pain with no hope of recovery just to save myself the pain. I understand where you’re coming from and I actually agree with you when it comes to terminally ill patients.

        As for still being up, I don’t normally stay up that late. That was a freak coincidence and I doubt it’ll happen again any time soon. 🙂

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      2. I am not usually up that late either. lol I have had family members dying in the hospital too. When our Pop was in end stage lung disease they gave him the meds to make him comfortable and he passed quietly which was a blessing.

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  2. Cindy Gural

    Wow, very heavy but it is a part of life. I support assisted suicide. It should be our choice to make. Another great article Dani, kudos to you.

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  3. Stacy

    Thank you for sharing your story about your mother. I’m sure delving into and writing about that time is not easy, but hopefully cathartic. In the past few years I’ve seen repeatedly how suicides can ravage families, but I still believe it has it’s place. We afford that mercy to animals, why not people. It’s just so hard to know when the time is truly right, and emotions can cloud rational thinking which can make some people blind to possible solutions. In the end it is up to each person to decide whether life just hurts too much. Unfortunately the pain they are trying to escape usually gets transferred to the loved ones left behind.

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  4. Thank you Stacy for your candid comment. Although I have moments of sadness I am just overall happy that she is at peace. True love is unselfish. I so appreciate you taking the time to ingest my words. 🙂 You are so sweet, and you are right we afford that kindness to animals and we should to people as well. 🙂

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  5. Hola Sweet Dani, this was such a powerful and truthful post. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂 I think one of the best things for your Mom was that you accepted it. In Holland euthanasia is legal, but even if one requested it there is a strict procedure. In a way this makes sense, but ultimately it is still I think that if one decides to go through this route, one shouldn’t question it. Sure you’re surrounded by people during life, but in the end you are an individual. It’s your choice to make. No one will ever now what truly goes inside one’s mind huh? And as long one is not in the same position it can be difficult to understand why such an “selfish act” is done. I believe life continues after you pass away, so I don’t believe souls are completely gone. Moments of sadness will always be there, but they will be accompanied by moments of happiness. We need to hold on to that.

    I can recall reading an article from a man who was severely paralyzed and was stuck in a wheelchair. I believe it was from a stroke? It went viral for a bit on FB, maybe you’ve seen it. There was no hope at all for recovery and he wanted to go in peace, but the court dismissed his request. The pain and hurt I saw in his eyes was almost unbearable for me. It’s inhumane to take away “choice”.

    End ramble!! Thanks so much again for sharing this peek from your past. *hugs*

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    1. Whoops. I see I left out a part in a sentence! I meant to say this ” but ultimately it is a choice. I think that if one decides to go through this route, one shouldn’t question it.”

      ^_^

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  6. Thank you sweet TJ. I was the only one who supported her decision and I hope that helped her and made her feel a little better. No one should have to go through what she did. Hugs..

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  7. What a tough spot for both parties to be in. On one hand, you have a person who is suffering greatly, and on the other, you have people who can only stand by and watch it happen. I think it’s important that you noted it was her choice to die, and one she made for herself. I think, sometimes, we can’t accept that someone has chosen not to go on any longer. It’s a societal thing, especially in America. If the person has pursued every avenue and is still suffering, who are we to make any other choice for them?

    Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Yes Jen I understand there are other countries that have assisted suicide for the terminally ill. I learned today that The Netherlands do, and I know Switzerland does. It just seems like the right thing to me. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Nandi. I think people need to know. If I can help just one person who might be struggling than it’s totally worth it to bare my soul. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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  9. You know I agree with you, admire you greatly, and think you are remarkably brave for having the courage to write this. I have a friend whose husband and son committed suicide, she told me she finally realized her son didn’t wish to stay in this world. We are all ultimately self determining, no matter how much we want people to do what we want. Hugz and respect. Lots of it.

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  10. Dani. I still can’t find the words to describe my thoughts. You made the best decision for you. Your mom knew that she would take her life and once the decision was made there would be no turning back. I struggle with the lack of compassion towards mental illness. Sometimes, I think we are making strides, but eaxh time a suicide happens, I realize we have a long way to travel. Assited seems more humane. I am so sorry for your loss, and I respect your position. Peace to you.

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    1. Thank you. I…know I don’t have all the answers. I have some now I wish I had known about then. But no matter…it’s the choice of the person however sad. I do wish there was more we could do. The best answer of course is to be able to fix what’s wrong because ending it is the last possible resort. 😦

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