On Saturday, April 6, 2019, my Uncle Charlie passed away. The atmosphere around his death versus that of my dogs got me thinking about the ongoing debate over physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
The option to euthanize
I knew when my dogs were going to pass. That’s because I had the option to euthanize them rather than let them suffer.
Casey, my Pomeranian mix, had gone into renal failure. The vet simply put the drugs into his I.V. I stayed there, rubbing his ears, twirling his long hair around my fingers, and singing the little ditty I sang to him every night before we went to bed.
Both of my pitbull princesses had cancer.
Dalilah rested her head on my shoulder as the vet gave her the first shot of sedation. I then laid behind her, wrapping my arms around her, singing “Tracks of My Tears” softly into her ear. Though the vet warned us of a possible, frightening last gasp, Dalilah slipped away in total peace.
I can’t remember if I sang to Roxy or just talked to her. She might have gotten lucky.
The point is that for each of them, I had the chance to do anything I could think of to direct love and calmness to them. I like to think I helped make their transitions as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Compared to people
Though Uncle Charlie’s battle with cancer lasted years, his downward spiral took all of about a week. He got to be at home, just like he wanted. He was aware of the family helping take care of him. Most people don’t get such gifts.
Even so, at the time he crossed that threshold, all was quiet. Only my mom, his sister, was in the room, organizing his next round of medications.
No one held his hand or reassured him all was well and safe. No one had the opportunity to consciously create a loving presence through which to send him off.
How could we when no one had any idea when it would happen?
The option to plan
I’m not saying Uncle Charlie would have opted for physician assisted suicide. I doubt he would.
But some people would.
Wouldn’t it be a blessing for everyone involved if family and friends knew when to gather near their dying loved one and hold each other, comfort one another, laugh over some silly memories together, and send their loved one off with their collective light and positivity?
It’s not for everyone. But I think humans deserve that option as much as pets.
Thanks for stopping by today.