A Motorcycle, MORPHINE and a Hospice

2012 January 30

Illustration by Melinda Josie

Stories of end-of-life are often poignant, occasionally dramatic, and sometimes humorous.

This week, we spotted an article in the New York Times that encompassed all three.

Comedian Mike DeStefano, who died recently of a heart attack, told a story from his younger years that brought both tears and a smile to our faces.

His wife at the time was HIV+ (as was he) and was living out her final days at a hospice, connected to a morphine drip.

DeStefano himself was still healthy, and bought himself a Harley motorcycle. To his surprise, his wife wanted a ride on his new machine. At first, he hesitated. But when she insisted, he gave in.

[Dying] people, they feel ‘I’m alive.’ They pass away at one moment.
Until that moment, they are alive…

So he put her on the back of the motorcycle, first for a trip around the parking lot, and then onto the road. What happened next couldn’t be imagined.

And then I pass the front door, and all these nurses
are standing out front, and they’re all crying.

They’re watching us, and they’re crying.

And I didn’t know why they were crying. I was like, Why are they crying?

I didn’t get what they were seeing. I didn’t know.

Because I was just in it; I was living it.

We won’t spoil the story any further, just go ahead and read it yourself:

The Lives They Lived: Uneasy Rider

  • This story originally came from an audio podcast – for those who can tolerate the salty languageclick here to listen…
2 Responses
  1. January 31, 2012

    Dear Palliumars,
    You all rock. What you do in the dismal scenario of a decrepit country that cannot take care of its healthy let alone help the desperately sick with dignity, is absolutely amazing and heartwarming. You respect life, you elevate humanity with hope, love .and compassion. May the love you share to those suffering in mute agony spill over to selfish morons like me so that someday I learn to look beyond the cocoons of my comfort and learn the real lesson in life – the lesson in love and service.
    You are my hero.
    I love you all
    Sakti

  2. February 2, 2012

    Dear Sakti
    Many thanks for your words of encouragement. These little words of appreciation give us greater strength to continue our mission.
    Best wishes

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