Death has been on my mind a lot lately so this was a timely post for me and I've been thinking along similar lines myself these days. My fear of death has kept me from posting about it too directly.
It is so true that one can be very brave about one issue but scared, trembling and unsure about others. And yes, suicide is a very un-grown-up thing to do. I like that Scrabbleboard analogy very much.
I think about death all the time these days (as my LJ probably demonstrates). My attitude is partially summed up in Peter Pan's view of it as "an awfully big adventure".
I don't fear death itself, but the process of ageing is really, really tiresome and humiliating.
2008-03-13 01:25 pm (UTC)
I think that the right to take one's own life is an important one. However, I tend to associate suicide more with making a clean and dignified end in the face of lingering, wasting illness -- especially if one faces mental erosion. I think it's a far better option than to live on as a white-haired baby being kept alive because death is too scary to contemplate.
To commit suicide rather than face the consequence of one's actions is a different matter.
Yes, I agree. I think the seriously ill should have the right to assisted suicide.
I liked your comment about the Scabbleboard. I totally agree. I also love stories where everything seems hopeless, yet, somehow, the hero prevails. Committing suicide relinquishes the possibility of that happening. It would ruin the story.
I once experienced hyperthermia. I was in a car that slid off the road in a snowstorm. This was long before cell phones, and we had to walk 20 miles back to town. I was not dressed appropriately. There is a feeling of euphoria that sets in before you lose consciousness.
I also once lossed consciousness on a bathroom floor. I was very, very sick (not drunk at all). Given a choice between a snowstorm and the bathroom floor, I think I would choose the snowstorm as well. Especially if it could be in a beautiful spot.
A lot of films, novels, stories end with the suicide of the protagonist. It's a tidy way of rounding off a work of fiction. Also, I'm inclined to think, rather lazy.
Thank you for confirming my beliefs about hyperthermia. Excuse my nosiness, but how did you come to be rescued?
We finally made it to the village. I was with my then husband, who was much bigger than me and not as suseptable to the cold. He kept me walking, even though I was starting to lose consciousness. If he had not have been there, I would have just layed down and went to sleep. That was what I wanted to do. I was "very tired" and "oh, the snow is so pretty". I felt very safe. I was sure that everything would be fine, if I could just lay down and take a nap.
When we got to his mom's house, they put me in a tub of warm water and brought my body temperature up that way. I was kind of delirious.
I'm so reminded of that famous poem by Frost. The woods filling up with snow and the poet not wanting to leave them. That's one of the most perfect lyrics ever written- and so true!
Ah. I'm glad you didn't die and could tell us this story.
Thank you! I am glad I didn't die as well!
No-one is brave all the way through. It's like Macbeth; he's a fearless soldier but afraid of ghosts.
I forgot about that. There were many many times during the last of his illness that my brother threatened to kill himself. I wouldn't have blamed him if he had, he was in serious pain and under a death sentence anyway. And as a crazy person, I can say that thoughts of that kind of thing have entered my mind.
I'd like to know how someone can say that dying of hypthermia would be a 'gentle' death, that you just sort of drift away. Who has come back from that and said so? (I'm not calling you out, that's just an observation. Kinda like is there life after death? Who has come back and said so?)
The thing about hyperthermia is it's slow- and many people have been brought back long after they've lapsed into unconsciousness. As it so happens, my friend wyrmwwd is one of them (see above) and confirms that at a certain stage euphoria sets in.
Ah, I see. I wasn't doubting you!!!
This is a wonderful post. I've read it twice since I saw it yesterday. I need it in my favorites to keep.
You're the second person in my acquaintance to discuss suicide recently (the other: naamah_darling
). One very odd coincidence!
She goes into the subject in a lot more depth than I do. In fact, she makes me seem flippant. As I suppose I am. Flippancy is also a way of getting by.
She's writing from a different perspective and for a different reason. I like circling a topic from a few different vantage points, though, especially complicated topics.
When we moved into a cheap cottage near an alley in Florida, I was home all day with the children and so I'd look outside at the other houses and wonder about them.
The house I wished we lived in had a pretty screened porch, and I wondered who owned it.
While I was wondering and envying, there was an old man inside the screened-porch house who had fallen off his bed and was lying helpless and alone for day after day, and I didn't know.
The postman got worried--he knew him a little--when his mail wasn't picked up for a week, and the neighbors found him.
They knocked on our door and told us, and asked if we had crackers--he was hungry, they said, and the ambulance was coming.
He died in the hospital. He'd been on the floor for three days.