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By Donna
Posted on

I had the conversation with my parent.

My mother has decided some months ago (actually in her words several years ago, however she has started to voice her wishes just early this year) that she wants to end her life through euthanasia. She has a debilitating, painful disease which will leave her completely dependent upon others for help. She already is largely dependent upon others for basic selfcare. In addition, she is living in a care-center which is going to close down early next year. She has hated living there, from the very start several years ago. I am with two older sisters and an older brother who are also all involved in dealing with these circumstances. I, on one hand, understand that my mother is unhappy with her current living situation, hates being dependent and cannot accept being dependent upon others. She is in a lot of pain and she seems to have simply lost her motivation to live. On the other hand, I don´t feel she has done much to improve upon her quality of life. She resists taking pain medication out of fear that it will leave her in a drug induced stupor, leaving her even more vulnerable and at the mercy of her caretakers. She has taken little initiative informing herself and speaking with fellow-sufferers about her experiences. She has always been a strong-willed, stubborn beautiful woman, with her share of challenges in life. I see her fighting, yet giving up. I see her resisting, yet giving in… It is a situation filled with contrasts and I find myself struggling emotionally, accepting her decision: I am not ready to lose her… At the same time, I love her so much and don´t want to see her unhappy and suffering. This is the point, I feel she could still enjoy her life, there is still so much to enjoy. She has a loving family, many friends who love her and has more visitors and people that are involved in her life in some form or another than I do with two healthy legs and physical strength to go around the world! In my view it seems that she is letting something beautiful that is still there, something that should be cherished and valued, go to waste… Yes there is pain, yes there is uncertainty and dependence, and yes it requires a lot of effort to get through the day… but I also feel that with a different mind-set she could make this last sprint of her life a fulfilling one!
I don´t know how the living situation could be solved, these are practical issues that also come into play… It is such a shame that logistics should, to such a large extent, influence the will to live or die… The decision to stop living apparently has been made years ago. But it also seems as though there is a cry for help or attention if you will. My mother, as good intentioned and loving as she is, has also been a woman used to being the beautiful one, the star, the one everyone looks up to, the giver of advice, a comfort to those facing difficulties in their lives, the eccentric, exotic and far from common one. Here she is her sense of utility waning, her strength diminishing and the realization that she cannot be the caregiver of others confirmed more than ever. It is a struggle for her, and also for us. With all her follies and idiosyncrasies, she is more mother to me than I could ever wish for. The ultimate symbol of maternity and the most unconditional source of love, I smell her skin talking about her, I feel her now fragile body imagining her presence, and I hear her comforting voice as I remember our telephone conversation today, despite her suffering. I can´t help feeling that this is her attempt to sing her last swan song… Yet we are all involved in the rehearsal, suffering with her, be it for ourselves and the thought of our loss, or be it for the understanding of what she has to face. Again another sentence with “I”, I cannot imagine her gone, I don´t want to imagine her gone. I realize I am finally talking more about my own struggle than my mother´s, yet it is so difficult being selfless and letting her go…

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