My mother is slipping away.
Last week, she asked me, “Are we sisters, or cousins, or what?”
The week before, she looked at me vaguely and said, “What are you to me? Are we related?”
Last night, she decided to “cook” a frozen dinner in the microwave and evidently set it for a lllloooonnnnggggg time. It “cooked” until it caught fire.
I was up with her all night long one night last week. We have a doctor’s appointment today, for which her doctor is graciously sacrificing her lunch time to work Mama into her schedule. The purpose? To see if sleeping pills, which I’ve avoided, or anti-depressants, or something will help her sleep through the night so that I can sleep, as well.
Every time I write a post about Mama, a few sick souls comment that situations like this are a fine argument for euthanasia. I almost always delete these things, but they trouble me, just the same.
What is wrong with someone that they could look at a frail elderly person and their first thought is to kill them?
I start stammering when I try to formulate a response to this. Kill my mother? That’s their advice?
We live in a world where the first solution that we offer to human problems is increasingly becoming a demand that we kill the person who is being a problem. We even label one entire group of humans — the unborn — a “problem pregnancy” rather than a human being, and then use this designation as a justification for killing them at will.
The same thing is happening to anyone who has an illness that makes them a ‘burden.” We are moving toward a world where the only people who will have a legal right to life are those who have sufficient wits, energy and means to defend their right to be alive in a court of law.
The Terry Shiavo case demonstrated quite clearly that it is not enough to have people who will advocate for your life in a court of law. The person doing the advocating must be the correct one. Killing someone by taking away their water and food and then letting them die of thirst and starvation could hardly be called “merciful.”
My mother is slipping away. Caring for her is hard. But it is also — and I never hear about this aspect of it — a blessing. Seeing Mama home is a privilege. This long goodbye has a sweetness to it that I never knew existed until I began walking this walk with her.
As for those poor loveless folks who think that the solution to human suffering is to kill the suffering human, I pray for you. Because you are in far worse shape than my Mama will ever be.