A Good Death | Trisha de Borchgrave

February 18, 2015 8:30 PM

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A Good Death | Trisha de Borchgrave

I smiled faintly and nodded and we both cried. And yet within the hissing sound of disbelief inside my head and hollowness within my chest, I felt a surge of empowerment for him; he could control his destiny in a way that the messiness of everyday living prevents us from doing. His life no longer in the lap of the Gods, but in the hands of modern medication and constant loving care, he could now focus on a condensed version of the life he had lived; a chance to reaffirm all that was resonant, and hone his awareness of the outside world towards a quieter reflection about being okay with himself. He fully acknowledged the commitment of a wife who loved him for 45 years, marveled at his granddaughter's unorthodox plans for a life he knew he wouldn't see, advised me on my own professional pursuits, pointed out the glow of a sunset behind us that we had been too distracted to appreciate, helped me put on my 10-year-old duffel coat quipping how much he'd always loved it, and, when close to unconsciousness, struggled to raise my hand to his face to give it a succession of small kisses that his lips could barely form, a gesture of old when I was five and he sang me the Beatles song, "Will you still feed me, will you still need me, when I'm 64?" So, no, he wasn't contributing to the dialogue on ISIL within Libya; instead he was finding the more relevant sweet spot of peace and acceptance.

Was it a life cut short? Yes, these days being 88, active and sentient is no reason to have to go. Disease can do that yet it can also bestow the gift of one last dose of time to enjoy validation from others, agenda-free and genuine, as close as it will come to attending one's own funeral.

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