A few years ago, a friend of my family had a stroke
. She lives in a nursing home
. She's not a babbling idiot
, or a vegetable
. She's conscious
, really. But she's also trapped in her own body
. You can see her struggle to speak, to find the right word
, to simply express the desire to eat
or look out the window
. Her body is a prison
for her real self
I won't let that happen to my mother. Or, for that matter, my father.
I've made a promise to that effect to my mother. If she's ever in a condition where her ability to function is severely compromised, I'm to do something, anything, to help her die. Even just a pillow over her face for a while. It's actually become a running joke, among just us. When she gets bitchy, or cranky, I say "The pillow's getting closer, Mom." There's a hint of unease, because of the strong possibility, due to her overall health, that someday I will need to cause her to stop breathing.
I won't consider myself guilty of murder. I'll have stopped something she would have hated. But I'll still cry.