So let me just throw this out there.
I’m not suicidal but I have a chronic and, apparently, incurable illness that over the last 8 years has lowered my quality of life to almost comically unbearable levels. There are certainly days when I think, “so how long do you think you can endure this before jumping out of a fucking window?”
Let’s get real here – if you were an American being held prisoner by ISIS (or, for that matter, a suspected Muslim terrorist being held at a black site by the CIA) and tortured sadistically and de-humanized every day and was reasonably sure that this would go on until the day you were brutally murdered, you would probably end your life if you could. You would certainly think about it a lot. There are many, many scenarios one could imagine (and which some poor saps have actually encountered) in which ending your own life would be the humane, compassionate and rational thing to do. Even God would understand that. I think. Wait, I might be wrong about that. OK, let’s leave Him out of this for now.
I am very sick most of the time, in pain, alone, abandoned by friends (sick people do not make good company, I understand that, I am not bitter about that, just sad and heartbroken), financially broke, unable to manage my affairs or pay for decent healthcare (yeah, fuck you, Obamacare), unable to think cogently or read much of the time. You get the picture.
I don’t want to be a burden on my (young adult) children or society. I’m not the kind of person that could get used to sitting around watching tv in a nursing home. I’ve always had a sense of purpose in life, a sense that I was helping the planet in some way, doing some good. To be honest, I’m not sure I can bear the incredible agony of my current existence without that kind of motivation and sense of satisfaction. Did I mention that my mind is going?
Again, I am not suicidal. But I am confronted with a serious existential dilemma – I don’t want to suffer needlessly and tragically. Or circle the drain for a long time. I would like to leave this world with some dignity. Perhaps that is vanity.
I would, of course, prefer to live with dignity and purpose and a sense of being connected. But that may not be an option here.
There is a lot of controversy about euthanasia, a term that is as abused and misunderstood as “suicide”. But like more and more people across the globe, I believe that the ability or opportunity to die with dignity and without a lot of nasty drama and agony should be a human right. Call me a dreamer.
But I would like to take that a step further. I would like my death to actually be of benefit to humanity in some way. Not symbolically like a martyr. Real tangible benefit. Not even something big, necessarily.
I mean, think about it. If you have rationally and clear-headedly made the decision to end your life, why would you want to freak people out and make a big mess by blowing your brains out? Sure, it is quick and effective (if you have the right gun and know what you are doing), but what a drag for the poor schmucks who have to clean up your mess. No, no. There is some power in making the decision to end your life. You are not afraid to die, you want to die. Therefore, you could do things that people won’t or can’t or shouldn’t do because of their fear of death and family responsibilities. You possess a kind of super power. You could de-fuse bombs quickly and effectively without all of that awkward protective gear. You could go on a dangerous but vital mission. You could simply donate your body to science – here, it’s fresh, do whatever you want with it (maybe even work to find a cure for this ***** of an illness). Just give me some of that happy juice first. Something that floods the brain with dopamine before shutting out the lights. We have the technology to make a man or woman die with a smile on their face, goddamit!
I’m not talking about a Soylent Green situation. That might be going a bit too far, but hey, if we reach that point because of global warming or whatever, fine, I’m with Edward G. Robinson. Roll the happy film.
I’m talking about being the opposite of a suicide bomber. A euthanasia angel. One more good deed before I go. Hey, no problem, you’re welcome. Maybe you could write something nice about me. Rather than pretend that there was some virtue in the fact that I lingered on in mind-numbing agony and hopelessness until my carcass gave out long after anybody had any notion that I was even still alive.
So let me just throw this out there.