Sunday, January 06, 2008


A friend of mine had a hideous thing happen between her parents over Christmas. Her dad has a serious, terminal disease, the kind that takes your mind along with your body. He got all whacked out and tried to hurt/kill his wife. And he damn near succeeded. The rest of the details are not really for me to tell, i just wanted you to understand how sad and horrible this situation is.

At the end of my life, if i am sick, mentally or physically or both, i hope i will be able to wake up one day and say, before i am not capable of it anymore, "That's it. It's time." And that i will be strong enough to do it.

But i also secretly hope in my heart, although i would never admit it, that someone will love me so much that they will beg me not to go, that my mere presence is of such comfort to them that they want to hang on to it as long as possible, despite the burdens of caring for me.

I still hope i will be strong enough to do it.


Marshamlow said...

I hope that someday nursing homes are not a fate worse than death. I am so sorry for your friend and her mom, what a horrid thing to happen. My grandma has terminal cancer and is in terrible pain. She has been saying for years, long before the cancer, that she is just waiting to die. It broke my heart, she was able to drive, and dance and craft. I always felt like I was waiting for the kids to grow, to retire, to be where she is. I really just don't know what I think, except I really, really don't want my grandma to go.

QT said...

I am so sorry for your friend, meno. That is a horrible thing to have to endure on top of an illness.

My grandma wanted to die for several years. We struggled with her, and in the end, I am glad she finally has peace. But I still clung on to the last strands of hope that maybe she could hang on for a few more years.

Stucco said...

I could never lay a hand on my hunny bunny, Schmoopie, but by God, if ever I get bone cancer, Bob Saget had better go into hiding. It'd be my parting gift to humanity to remove him.

Anonymous said...

I have told everyone in my world who might remotely like me just a little bit that it is my wish to never live beyond my useful shelf life.

After witnessing how my grandmother lived for these past three years and what a toll it took on her three children (not to mention the rest of us), I'm more convinced than ever. It's an awful way to leave a life well lived.

Anonymous said...

Meno, it's a hell of a thing to have to witness something like that, and worse to endure it. Alzheimer's erased my father, slowly, over the course of some 12 years. We knew it was time for outside help when he woke up one night and didn't recognise his own wife--simply didn't recognise her and was close to doing her harm for being in his house. Having to come over in the middle of the night to talk my father out of violence against my mother was one of the most gut-wrenching things I've ever had to do.

I've already told myself that if I ever, EVER have an inkling that I'm going down that road I'll take myself out of the picture long before someone has to endure on my behalf what my mother did for my father--she stayed with him at the VA hospital, daily, until he died.

flutter said...


I am so so sorry.

tt said...

**heavy sigh**
I'm going to borrow Jennifer's line..actually steal it forever..I Hope to God I never out live my shelf life too. Great way to put it.
My Dad was recently diagnosed with Dementia...early stage but it's progressing rather rapidly. I have no words to describe how much it hurts to watch " your strong smart Daddy" disappear right before your eyes. It's my wish that he dies long before he get to the place in your story.
I've told all my urchins that it's my wish not to go that route but who's to say or even stop it. I'm with you. I hope I'm strong enough to say"That's it". And I also hope that I'll be loved that much that they'll let me go.
I'm soooo very sorry your friend had to go through that.

Girlplustwo said...

i am very sorry for your friend..what a way to end things, isn't it?

and i agree, i too hope that at the time i'll possess enough grace to know when it's time to say when.

meno said...

marsha, that is a sweet tribute to your grandmother, that you want her in your life.

qt, it shocks me when people like their grandparents, mine were pretty awful. That's so sweet how you loved yours.

stucco, heh heh. Although, really, couldn't you take out SEVERAL more people on your way? People even more deserving than Bob?

jennifer, yes, i have said that too. We are kinder to our pets when they are in pain.

irrelephant, that is what happened here, except there was no one there to protect her, and she got severely hurt. I'm very sorry you had to go through that. I just worry that i will be past the point of knowing that i am batshit before i think to remove myself.

flutter, thank you.

tt, look how many of us have a similar story. There needs to be a better way. My dad is disappearing too, but quietly, with nary a fuss. Sad.

Mrs. Chili said...

I'm sorry for your friend - and for her parents, both of them.

I wish the same for me, too - that I'm strong enough to do it.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping I'll drop dead of a heart attack at 85. To facilitate this happening, I'm getting a tattoo on my chest when I turn 65 that says "Do Not Resusitate" and I'm not cutting back on my butter intake at all.

Anonymous said...

I hope, at the end of my life, that someone loves me enough to take my life if I cannot do so myself.

So sorry for this tragic turn.

ms chica said...

Too close to home to comment intelligently.

life can be so cruel. may the rest of us be more fortunate than your friend, and may your friend find peace.

Gordo said...

Oh, that's terrible, meno.

I desperately hope that if it ever comes to a situation like this that our society will have gotten over their bloody ridiculous squeamishness about euthanasia. I can put a suffering animal out of terribly misery, but I can't legally do it for a loved one? Give me a bloody break.

Lynn said...

A persons legacy is that which they leave behind. It is a true testament to a life well lived when those around us are sad to see us die.

It's painful to watch someone you love slowly lose their memory/mind...and yet the gift in that is that family and loved ones are able to experience the loss of that person as a process rather than an event.

If we take the decision into our own hands, we alter the grief experiences of those that we love.

That being said...I hope one night, before I lose my health or mind, that I will go to sleep and never wake up.

thailandchani said...

I'm certainly sorry for your friend!

This is a sensitive topic for me, of course.

I like the idea of dying with dignity... but I want it to be for the right reasons. I want it to be because it feels right, because it seems like Right Action. I don't want anyone having to choose to die because they are too afraid of "being a burden" as my father stated in his exit note.

You know what I mean?

Liv said...

and, i'm so tired. it's so late, but all i can say is that i'm grateful you're my friend, and that you're around to listen to me at late hours. you're a brick.

Susanne said...

Oh my. I'm sorry for your friend.

And sending you a hug.

Allison Horner said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's parents. I can't imagine going through that.

I totally agree with your thoughts. I hope my body goes before my mind & that it'll be painless. End of life issues are so tough.

My advice to all of you (as a future medical provider), make sure you have your wills, medical power of attorneys, and ADVANCE DIRECTIVES drafted and signed as soon as you can, so your wishes will be fulfilled.

furiousBall said...

if i get that sick, i have a standing order to have me shot out of a cannon into the indian ocean

Anonymous said...


I hope you don't have to.

Candy said...

Wow, what a horrible situation.

I understand your desire to be able to stand up and take action. My husband and a friend of his have a pact...if such a thing were to happen to one, the other is supposed to step in and end things.

I always tell him that's an awful lot to ask of another human being, but he really believes if his friend loves him, he'll do it. I don't know that I could.

Anonymous said...

I get this. I'm really in the same kind of place. I don't think I'd hold it against anyone if they didn't but there is that act of being cared for until death that can seem so differently giving. Its a favor the other person knows can never really be returned. . .

egan said...

Oh, this is a topic near and dear to my heart with my grandparents. I'm all for an injection of some sort when things have become so bad, but let's not think about that stuff.

Best of luck to your friend's family.

sari said...

I pray your friend's mom can recover, this is heartbreaking.

Alzheimer's runs in my husband's family and my step-grandmother suffers from it as well. It's a horrible disease in so many unforseen ways for so many.

Anonymous said...

what a horror. my right neighbors are both in their 80's and almost totally out of it. my left neighbor is her daughter, and is having to deal with watching her mama disintegrate before her eyes. the old man locks both of them into the house, then forgets where the keys are to let the food-bearing daughter in.

I too hope that I can nip this junk in the bud if it pops into my life. I watched my grandmother die of alzheimer's and it was awful for all of us.

will your friend's mama be okay? how is your friend holding up?

Bob said...

and I would hope that the person who loves you so much that they don't want to let go will love you even more and let you go.

TTQ said...

I spent almost a month on life support, I wouldn't be here if they had decided to pull the plug.

some days it's worrth it and others days it really seems not to be.

there is no right answer

meno said...

jen, even worse is that it is not the end, just another ending in a series of endings.

mrs. chili, it would be a horrible thing to ask of someone else. That's one reason why i want to know when for myself.

deb, That's my hope too. And i love butter, so it's a plan!

franki, i wonder if i could actually do that for someone else. I just don't know.

ms. chica, yes, i thought of you when i was listening to this story.

gordo, i put my suffering cat to sleep. It was the only humane thing to do. I agree with you utterly.

lynn, i hadn't really thought of it like that. I hope for a "good" death for all of us.

chani, i think i do. For my own reasons, because i do not want to live like "that", whatever "that" may be.

liv, i wish i had more to give you than my ears. I hope today is better.

susanne, all hugs gratefully accepted. Thank you.

alli, yep, that is great advice. My mom gave me copies of her DNR and will and living will recently.

furious, way to go out with a bang!

de, i hope so too. But there are too many people with similar stories.

candy, i don't know that i could either. Although i don't know if i couldn't either.

popeye, that's a new thought for me, that favor thing. Interesting, i'll be thinking about that.

egan, almost everyone has some story like this.

sari, there are quite a few horrible, mind-stealing diseases out there that scare the crap out of me.

holly, the mama is recovering, but her life is pretty much rent asunder. She can no longer live with her partner of over 50 years, she's scared to go home, her hubby is unrecognizing and unrecognizable in the hospital. Mess.

bob, beautifully put.

ttq, you are a young woman, (mostly :) ) in full possesion of her faculties. I can't see any valid argument to "pull the plug" in your situation.

egan said...

Yep, my mom swears I'm going to put her in a nursing home well before she needs it. But I'm such an angelic child.

amusing said...

I was just thinking about this today (or was it yesterday), thinking how we talk about putting an animal down "because he was suffering" -- yet won't allow the same end for people in pain or who are lost in dementia. And I realized, like so many other things, it probably comes down to money. Can't allow someone to decide to end someone else's life in case it's motivated by a will and financial gain and all the potential arguments that might follow....

Lynnea said...

I've come several times hoping to have something to say. I just don't know what to say. But I wanted you to know that I was here and thinking about you anyways.

Julie Pippert said...

How tragic, all the way around, culminating in a big serious near total tragedy. I've watched lives and families unravel when disease altered the mind. And I still don't know the best answer. It seems like better care ought to be available, so that people don't *have* to be in those positions. In a way, though, it seems like it ought to be something one can choose for one's self.

How beautiful to want to be loved like that. Me too.

Joan said...

How terribly sad and frightening for your friend. I only hope that I still have my wits about me and someone who loves me when it's my time but, most of all, I hope my existence does not become a burden to that someone.

Stucco said...

More.. deserving.. than.. Bob.. Saget? Does not compute.

Andrea Frazer said...

Meno - I love you because you say it like it is. It's different than my views, but who cares. It's your conviction that always keeps me coming back. Thank you. And I'm sorry for your friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. My grandparents went through this too. My grandpa was a gentle man until Alzheimer's. But when he came out of the other side of the 'violent stage', he was gentler than ever. He used to dance with the nurses (my grandma's health did not allow her to dance). He was never a dancer before.

Anyway, I feel for your friend.

Bud Buckley has a wonderful idea. He's going to label a big medicine bottle with the words: 'When you can't remember what this is for, take the whole thing.'

fiwa said...

That is so sad, I feel so bad for your friend. I hope there has been some resolution to this, so her poor mom won't be in any danger of this happening again. That's just an awful situation all around.

100 Thoughts of Love said...

Thats the sad thing about Alzheimers. The one who has it doesn't suffer..its the family that suffers the pain and loss...sad, I hope your friend comes out of it all okay.

Anonymous said...

I a have a pact with kind and loving friends. It's called "playing Eskimo" and it only works up here in the North and only in the winter. It involves lots of whiskey and cold temperatures. 'Nuff said.

My Dad died of longtime congestive heart failure at a young age and had always said he'd finish himself before he got too bad. By the time his quality of life had gotten so bad, he couldn't move enough to do the deed. If he had been able to, it would have been so much tougher on us.

SO, don't leverage your options any too early either.

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your friends situation. My friends dad did something dangerous as well in a moment of mobility with parkinsons. He found the gun. fortunately for his family, the moment of mobility ended and he was unable to pull the trigger.

I would like to be with my loved ones to the end as long as no one has to put a suppository up my bum. Once we reach that stage, its time for me to go.

I hope in the end, your loved ones make it very clear how much you are valued and loved.

lu said...

This makes me weep. I hadn't even thought of this possiblity.


Mona Buonanotte said...

Hugs to you, Meno. I hope with time everything works out okay.

And I agree with you...when the time comes, when I'm hopefully very old, what kind of person do I want to be at the end? As hard as that is to think about.

Unknown said...

With personal experiences in this area, I'm not sure what I would do. I know I don't want to be the one with the terminal illness that just "loses it" and tries to hurt other people, but I'm also not sure I could end it myself.

And now I'm all depressed and must go find happy thoughts... Or chocolate... or both.

OhTheJoys said...

The situation you described is simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking.

I'm so sorry for your friend.

meno said...

egan, you? an angel? I'm sure she was referring to another child.

amusing, yep, it's that damned money. Of course sometimes people put animals down when they become inconvienient, so that sucks.

maggie, you know, there really isn't much that can be said, other than "I'm sorry" to my friend.

julie, it's a huge mess, and now they have to hurry and find the dad a place to live where they can care for him, because, understandably, the mom doesn't want to care for him herself any longer.

joan, i just don't want to live in a mindless state and be a danger to those around me.

stucco, you may be right. I have been trying to think of someone more deserving, but i haven't come up with anyone.

mamap, and i respect your views and would never try to change them.

nancy, i wonder what i would put in that bottle.

fiwa, no resolution yet, just a huge mess.

pat, i wonder if that's true. The Alzheimers patient must suffer when they know they have it but before they are completely out of it.

anon, i am in no hurry to be put down as i have a few good years left in me. :) But i like the whiskey and cold option. That sounds like an excellent way.

my pool, wow, a similar story. I was unaware until now of the mental effects of Parkinsons, i had thought it was all physical.

lu, sorry. It is a sad story for everyone involved.

mona, there you are! It is hard to think about. But stuff like this makes me have to think about it.

andrea, it's is hard to know what to do. Maybe when it's me i will know better. But i doubt it. Hope the chocolate helped.

oh, the joys, it pretty much sucks the big one, that's for sure.

Mermaid Melanie said...

wow. Sad and scary. I hope that things work out for them in a way everyone can live with.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm a bit sorry I read this post, although I try never to miss anything you write, because my husband, who is in his 50's, has Alzheimer's.

He still functions well in many ways but little by little, he is being stolen from himself and from me.

I'm sorry for your friend's pain, and for that of anyone who has to deal with this most cruel illness.

meno said...

melanie, this is shitty for me to say, but in a way that some of them can die with.

hearts, in this case it's Parkinsons. but they are all just awful. I am sorry, so sorry.

luckyzmom said...

Just don't starve me to death.