End It All? Or Live With It, Meaningfully?
Only 10% of us will die a sudden death. At the end of life, 90% of us will go through a prolonged illness before the end comes.
Frightening? Two people who are not afraid to think about it are arguing the point out in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Suicide is not the answer to Lou Gehrig’s disease”.
The author, Bruce Kramer, quotes an article, “How to die with grace”, by Dudley Clendinen who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig‘s disease). Clendinen has decided to kill himself before he loses the ability to do the deed. Not wanting to be:
a conscious but motionless, mute, withered, incontinent mummy of my former self.
Kramer then quotes David Brooks who wrote in the New York Times about Clendinen’s article bringing in the issue of cost of treatment – with the arrogance of a TAB (Temporarily able-bodied) person, as Kramer puts it. Brooks brings the argument down from the level of meaning of life, to the sordid question of money.
To Brooks, Kramer says:
Managing Lou (the disease) is expensive, but not managing it is immoral.
Bruce Kramer does not subscribe to either argument, he does not plan to end it all the Clendenin way, he means to find meaning in his life and in the course of disease and concludes:
Aging is the ultimate chronic disease. Each of us will have to learn its meaningful management. None of us has special knowledge