WE CAN’T BE TOO GLIB… THE WILL TO LIVE IS STRONG… THIS ARTICLE IS HUMBLING
An article in the New York Times Magazine by Robin Henig chronicles the struggle of married professors Peggy, a nationally recognized advocate for the “right to die” movement, and husband, Brooke, who had clearly decided and agreed that they wouldn’t want to live lives compromised by a serious illness or accident. However, when Brooke experienced a catastrophic bicycle injury that paralyzed him from neck down, he was determined to live even in severely reduced circumstances. To date, he has been alive for four years at a cost of $250,000 year in round-the-clock nursing care.
The article describes their everyday life and raises many interesting issues to consider in determining what you might want in a similar situation. It is a cautionary tale that illuminates the confusion and complexity of planning for the end of life. Among the thing you might want to consider are:
· The power of the will to live that can be seen as an evolutionary force related to survival.
· The ability humans have to adapt to compromises forced on us.
· The fear of dying.
· The bond between a loving couple that may influence the inability to let go or even to have a conversation about choosing to let go.
· The issue of deciding to live and what it entails in terms of the drain on the family’s material and emotional resources.
The article is humbling in how it displays the glibness of planning for life’s end when we are healthy. But when we are looking square in the face of dying…how will we respond? Obviously, it can change.
How would you respond in regards to these questions if you were faced with a similar situation? Follow the comments that the Times provides at the link for further stimulation and reflection.