Quoting Ancient Philosopher, Euripides, 5th century BC
I hate the men who would prolong their lives
By foods and drinks and charms of magic art
Perverting nature’s course to keep off death
They ought, when they no longer serve the land
To quit this life, and clear the way for youth.
(Thank you Clark University Bachelor of Science… Otherwise known as a “BS”… rather appropriate)
We have a cat named Dinah. She’s old. I mean “cat old”. She’s like 438 years old. She came with Greg.
If cats have 9 lives…she is on year OMG! She is so thin… you can pick her up with one finger…although you have to be gentle because she might disintegrate in your hands. And she was born with some kind of upper respiratory disease where she sneezes once ever few minutes… gross, wet, green snotty sneezes. Oh… and did I mention she only has one eye.
Every time the family comes home for a holiday… Dinah walks out and everyone says…”Oh my god… she’s still alive!”… kinda like me!
She just started going outside recently. Every time I open the door… she goes out and sits on the patio… smells the grass… and just hangs out. But as soon as we open the door… she sprints inside.
Yesterday, like clockwork, I opened the door to carry in the groceries… and out Dinah sprinted. But when I was done… I called for her and she didn’t come in. It was freezing… and I kept opening the door and calling for her to come in. But she never came in. All night, We went out looking for her… calling her… but no Dinah. So I slept with the garage door cracked… just big enough for her… but too small for robbers!
Early this morning I took the dog out… hoping she’d be waiting in the garage. But no luck. We went looking all around the yard for her “remains”… in case a coyote got her. But nothing. How could a skinny, 719 year old, one eyed cat… make it outside on a freezing night?
Here’s what I think. I think she was finally ready. And she knew it.
I’ve had many interesting conversations… admittedly over a few glasses of wine… with my Doctor friends. With today’s science and advances in medicine… we can keep a human body alive for a long time… even after the brain dies.
But… just because we can… does it mean we should?
In old tales… Eskimos would send their sick & dying off on an iceberg.
The ancient Nordics called it “jumping off the bridge”…
The Egyptians had their own term for it.
But when it was time… and the dying person knew it was time… it was time. No more suffering, humiliation, desperation… it was time.
As my friends start taking care of their aging parents and grandparents… they all tell me how with every visit… their loved ones just keep saying I’m ready to die.
Maybe Dinah walked outside… and kept walking. Maybe that was her way of saying she was ready… and making the decision for herself.
That’s what I’ll be thinking until she comes back.
Love you Dinah!