This blog is pretty much just about Kevin, isn’t it?

Content warning: death, dying with dignity, suicide. Skip this if it’s gonna trigger you, and go watch baby animals or dark memes or whatever’ll boost your dopamine.

To be fair, losing Kevin was pretty traumatic, and I find it easiest to process these feelings via writing.

We “put animals out of their misery” when living is actually more cruel than dying. Kevin and I chose death for 4 of our 6 cats when we felt selfish for keeping them alive. We were there for them at the end. I still remember putting my finger on Obie’s throat to feel her purr, and the way my heart sank once I felt nothing. (She was a tough little gal, and come to think of it, I lost her 10 years ago this month.)

But, for many reasons, a majority of them valid, humans are hesitant to allow people the same compassion. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again–I feel cheated that I couldn’t hold Kevin’s hand as he moved from this world to the next. I had to offer forgiveness ahead of time and endure a sleepless night where I felt it in my soul that he was gone but had to give him the benefit of the doubt, just in case he changed his mind. I had to have the local authorities find him for me. Do you have any idea what that was like to endure, for them or for me?

Dying with dignity is such a loaded topic because we are in the Dark Ages when it comes to our understanding of the human brain. At least we’re starting to understand that our brain can work for or against us in many ways. Neurodiversity is starting to gain recognition and many things that used to be considered “character flaws” are actually due to one of our major organs “not functioning normally.” There’s still much to be done to convince humanity to treat brain-based conditions/diseases the way we do other major organ conditions, like our hearts and lungs. I doubt I’ll see this during my lifetime. (Gen Z, I’m looking at you to help make this a reality during your lifetimes!)

We also have to allow people who wish to die with dignity to present their case. A separate sort of “Advance Directive” where an adult can declare their wish to have someone assist them in dying under very specific conditions. If we can declare our desires when it comes to being involved in an emergency life-or-death situation, we can do so when it comes to terminal or degenerative illnesses. People already have the right to refuse treatment for things like cancer, so we understand the concept.

So many of us have seen loved ones die slowly over years (or even decades) due to various illnesses. We’ve also seen other loved ones refuse medical intervention for their own, personal reasons. One can’t help but sometimes think–what would I want for myself if I were them? Do I rely on science and technology to allow myself more time on earth? Do I set my affairs in order and let nature take its course? Do I want to fight for my life, or am I done fighting? More importantly, will my personal choices be taken into account if I find myself in that situation?

I’d rather people not choose suicide, but I also acknowledge that I have no right to tell a human being to keep existing against their will.

But we need to keep talking about these things.