We’ve come to a point in our lives, my boyfriend and I, where we think about leaving, not each other, but leaving this world… as in dying. We can’t help it; we are faced with this thought all the time.
I saw my father’s slow decline by stroke-induced dementia. I watched this proud, macho, intelligent man, who would have said “shoot me first”, slowly become a child-like version of his former self, unaware of where he was, which was a good thing because he was in a nursing home and in diapers. Luckily, he forgot his wish of being shot first, never asked any of us to oblige, and passed peacefully. My boyfriend flew back and forth to Ohio repeatedly for several years helping two parents with Parkinson’s disease as they struggled to walk, talk, sit, eat, and eventually even breathe. They, too, are gone. And now, I am helping my 90-year-old mom adjust to living in an apartment in a senior community where there is a lot of assistance to make her life easy. It is easy, yes, but it is still not her home. Many of our generation share similar experiences; many of us also say “shoot me first”.