Update, same morning: And see this, just in from my sister Kathy: Diane Rehm — “My Husband’s Slow Deliberate Death was Unnecessary,” remarkable for being featured on NBC News. Her husband died June 23rd, suffering from advanced Parkinson’s. The doctor refused to help him die because it was illegal in the state they lived in. So he left by refusing food and water, with tiny drips of morphine. It took nine days.
Ever on the alert for new material that might show a shift in our culture re: the absurd and total denial of DEATH except in video games and other simulated or real war-like behavior; inside this freaked-out, distraction seeking culture where death is NOT considered a part of the life cycle — hear me? life should go on and on, from beginning, to . . . to . . . well, to some kind of end that is so far in the linear future that I don’t need to think about it now, and when it looms, I’ll just push it even further out — I came cross these two articles, in theguardian, today, re: Desmond Tutu. Interesting. His tone is mild, but revolutionary, in the sense of asking us to consider revolving back to an aboriginal understanding of the life/growth/prime/dying/death cycle that, let’s face it, is built in to the way Nature works. She too, revolves. She grows up new stuff, and she sluffs it off, over and over, circulating waves into particles, the formless into form.
Here’s his speech to the House of Lords:
And here is the larger context:
Archbishop calls for ‘mind shift’ on right to die and condemns as ‘disgraceful’ the treatment of the dying Nelson Mandela
I await the even larger question, whether or not deciding to die, even when one’s “condition” is not “terminal,” but simply because one has determined that one’s useful life (read: service to society) in this body is complete, should always be considered “suicide.” I think of two women who may have walked separately into the desert, leaving their dogs in the truck for others to find.
If so, that’s one way to do it. And I used to think that’s what I would do, when the time came. But now I realize that, for me, an even better way would be to die at home, ceremonially, with supportive friends nearby, in a conscious and sacred manner. No violence. No guns or pills, or plastic bags. Just the capacity to leave the body, for good, at will. Probably through some kind of meditation/breathing technique. Asian monks do it. If even only a single soul has successfully left the body this way, that means that we can all learn how, or at least I can, and that is my goal.
Imagine how massive the cultural changes, if we no longer not only did not fear death, but welcomed it, as the birthing process to larger life.
Just as in natural childbirth, I was taught to breathe my way through each contraction, so too in natural deathing, I will also breathe my way through. So simple. So obvious.