A Peaceful Ending

I work in a hospital and I’ve had a number of friends and family pass in the last six years, so I think it’s natural my thoughts tend to drift towards endings more often than not. Have you ever thought for more than a few fleeting moments about how you’ll pass? I realized driving home last night that I haven’t, but when I do, I always tend to think it’ll be one of those sweet, pleasant endings without pain or regret. In other words, bullshit.

How often do we ever read an obituary that states “(name) fell asleep on a layer of rose petals surrounded by family and friends while their soul drifted off into the next world, elevated to Heaven”? More like “(name) kicked and screamed writhing in pain and cursing all those around them until one brave family member unplugged the equipment, thereby silencing this tortured soul once and for all. Bets placed at the scene whether or not he/she was headed straight to Hell. Reading of the will began immediately to see who received the inheritance.”

Maybe you’re like me, listening to the news in the morning and shaking your head. How many people get shot during a week during the midnight hour? They die in the street, their car, or their house, all in pain and wondering why this happened to them. A local family here was returning home last weekend from Florida on I75 and another vehicle struck them, killing both parents and all three young children. What the heck? So many painful ways to go, so little time.

Look at my own family. We watched my father robbed of a piece of his memory, a piece of who he was, each day until his body couldn’t even remember how to swallow a tiny bit of water or food. Love that Alzheimer’s, right? He wasted away mentally and physically to nothing. Is that how he would have wanted to go? Hell no. My grandmother? Hooked up to a breathing machine with no hope of waking up again after a kidney stone and other complications robbed her of a longer life? Hell no. And my mother? Would she have chosen to go by multiple strokes and shit rehabilitation facilities where she was allowed to fall and come away from those places with urinary tract infections? Hell no.

Would I ever choose to go that way? NO. Will I have a choice in the matter? Probably not. Where the heck does this misconception of a peaceful end come from? How exactly do we get to the point we delude ourselves into thinking we’ll leave this world different from how we entered it—the kicking and screaming part?

Ralph and I don’t have children, so we won’t be relying on them to help us pass. He might be willing to put a pillow over my face and move things along if it gets to that point. Ralph might do it anyway even if I have years left. Or maybe he and a number of others I know who’d like to have a hand in putting a pillow over my face could do the deed together, then go out for Mojito after and reminisce. And, really, would I care at that point?

I’ve joked in the past when friends have said me and Ralph will be one of those couples who die together that if it happens that way, he was driving. Do I think we’ll pass together? No. And I wouldn’t want us to. He’s 4 ½ years younger than I am. He should have more time, quality time. He should finally be able to do as he pleases without me looking over his shoulder, and he’ll appreciate not having to tell me everything I should do the way he does it because it’s better. Couple things.

I wonder if they have mediators in the afterlife.

So what about you? Ever given any thought to how you might go versus how you want to go and if you’ll actually go that way? Or does it make you uncomfortable to think about?

Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, and sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant.

One Response to “A Peaceful Ending”

  1. maggie triner says:

    My dad had 6 heart attacks before he passed away back in 1970. My sister had a disease and died 20 years ago-no warning and my mom passed away 17 from an aneurism. If God really likes me please let me go like my mom-I’ve done the heart attacks so let hope that’s not on the expiration list. My son is willing to pull the plug if necessary-that is good for me to know. Your mom and dad were wonderful people-miss both of them and you are way to young to even be thinking of what lies ahead-enjoy your life to the fullest and be sure to take Ralph along for the ride-he is a wonderful man just like you.

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