Usha
You watch her lying in bed,face still beautiful at 73, the body shrunk to a skeleton after a thyroidectomy. She is in a lot of pain in spite of the hourly painkillers and you can see her rubbing her hip and legs but she does not whine about it. She has never complained in life - she has always demanded things from life and got them exactly the way she ordered. She is not about to make her exit leaving the memory of a shrivelled, suffering person. She is determined to face it by herself and if possible go with a smile. But Fate likes to humble you and force you to accede defeat. The pain becomes so intolerable that she finally says "can you give me something to end it all? I cannot bear to die so many times every second."
You love her but you can do nothing to take away the pain or share in it. All you can do is watch helplessly and cry. It seems right to accede to her request and help her go quickly. You know it in your heart and your mind.
It is against the law - that draconian system which makes laws to determine how people should die when it is conveniently silent about how people should live. There is no law punishing sons and daughters who fail to feed their parents or care for them but there is a law punishing those who help them ease their pain when all else has failed and purely motivated by love.You turn to religion for solace and guidance. It says it is her Karma and she has to go "through" it in order not to carry it over to another birth. Someone else says that it amounts to murder and warns of the sins of "brahmahathi".
So you wait and pray -pray for her to go, not to live, for there is no dignity in her life anymore. There is no law against wishing for someone's death. And finally when it comes it is all a relief and you have no tears left anymore and there is no loss to mourn.
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6 Responses
  1. Thought one: by allowing the ground to yield are we not short-circuiting a critical part of her life, she'd have no chance to re-obtain? would the meaning of her life she craves to safeguard not be reduced to an insignificant babble?

    Thought two: can't she, after all, choose?

    i suppose it would be a personal decision to outweigh one of the two thoughts given the circumstances.

    beautiful line "There is no law punishing sons and daughters who fail to feed their parents or care for them but there is a law punishing those who help them ease their pain when all else has failed and purely motivated by love"


  2. Usha Says:

    Shashi, She is not allowed to choose - even when she has no hope of ever improving and her mental faculties are clear to take a decision. Every part of her brain was alive and feeling the pain every second.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    There was an interesting article in the telegraph on euthanasia sometime back and I quote from it:
    "Consider a condition in which a patient is suffering from a terminal illness, with little possibility of benefiting from a cure and is, as a direct result of that illness, in impossible mental and physical agony and impossibly dependent upon others or upon technology to keep a bare remnant of life alive. Such a patient ought to have the option of a dignified exit. To insist on an absolutist conception of the sacredness of life in the face of such suffering is to hold a concrete person hostage to the abstract value of life. It is to respect an abstraction called Life, rather than the concrete person who embodies it."
    You can read the whole article at:
    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1041223/asp/opinion/story_4145622.asp

    Narayan


  4. Pradeep Says:

    Very moving post. Profound thought. It's more of a personal decision that is involved in such situations. A decision that's guided by the circumstances rather than high sounding theoretical morals and ethics. These are occasions when reality takes over. Only people who have been in such situations understand the gravity of it all.


  5. Dubukku Says:

    "And finally when it comes it is all a relief and you have no tears left anymore and there is no loss to mourn"
    very true and touching lines. well written. Its such a pain to go through this kind of situation!


  6. Anonymous Says:

    my grandmom is 73.