Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A dignified death

Lately it seems I'm having near encounters with death.
I'm always aware of death. Well more than anything else I'm very aware of what a fine balance health is, due to my profession and my job. But there are times when death touches the inner circle of your life, your close relations, your friends etc and then it just becomes something else. It becomes more vivid, more part of life, more intense.
We live life as if we are immortal. As if we are for ever here. That the ones we love or simply the everyday person we say hello to as we go down the stairs of the condominium is there to stay. Then life itself reminds you, that there is an end to what we call now life and we ignorantly call death.
What really scares me is not death itself but the process, especially if it occurs after a long debilitating disease that leaves you less human than you want to or an accident that leaves you or what was once you, in coma for years.
It scares me that I'm at the mercy of others where I can't have things done as I want to. Even if you tell all your friends and relatives and legally right it down. Where my basic needs are not what institutions regard as basic. Where I do not have a choice of therapy or non therapy. No choice to terminate life if it becomes unbearable or I'm no human anymore but just a corpse kept alive through artificial means.
It scares me that my loved one, if I'm not legally married or worst if my loved one is a woman, that person can't have the right to stay by my side, to decide for me, to then eventually inherit the very few things I own.
It scares me that if they bury me it will be done in a close airtight cell as if you were in jail. And worst of all, that after 26 years you have to be resumed, your bones broken to be placed in a small tin box and replaced in an even smaller cell.
Mind you all this is done with no respect what so ever. Your bones can be scattered all over. Your long bones spinal cord and hip cracked open as if you were a chicken breast. But you see all this is called "respect for the death" and is a basic need!
It scares me that even if I choose cremation which is what I think the best way for me to dispose of my earthly body, I have to spend months and years in a coffin waiting to be burnt because where I live there is only one cremation furnace and the demand is high.
So what to say, I'm in a country where I pay a truck full of taxes but as an immigrant I have no right to vote. I have no right as a lesbian. I have no right as a patient. I have no right how to terminate my life and how to dispose of my body.
And I ask myself why am I still living here? Definitely I'm better off than my country of origin but still I do not feel as if I've got my rights. I gained freedom for sure but not that freedom that allows you to be yourself in society.
Am I asking too much?

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