Exit stage left

Over the next several weeks, Sandy told those closest to her about her diagnosis and her plan to end her life before she became incapable of doing so. She told her two adult children, Emily and Jeremy, both in their 30s, and a handful of others: Karen; Daryl’s sister, Robyn Bem; and Sandy’s sister, Bev Lipsitz, who lived in Oregon. No one in that inner circle tried to talk her out of suicide; they knew how fierce she could be once her mind was made up. All they asked was that she promise not to choose a method that would be particularly disturbing — using a gun or jumping off a bridge into one of Ithaca’s famously beautiful gorges. Sandy had contemplated both of those options, but she didn’t want that sort of death either. “What I want,” she typed in her journal in an emphatic boldface font, “is to die on my own timetable and in my own nonviolent way.”

But when would that be? Sandy knew that the Alzheimer’s decline itself was predictable — it usually moves from mild (misplacing things, repeating questions) to moderate (being unable to learn something new, getting lost, failing to recognize loved ones) to severe (losing the ability to speak, swallow or remain continent; needing help with every function of day-­to-­day life). In the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis of amnestic M.C.I., however, she couldn’t know how long each stage might last. She wanted to squeeze in as much intellectual and emotional joy as she could before she died, but she wanted to make sure she didn’t wait too long. She needed to be engaged enough in her life to be able to end it. [link]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s