No More Pills, No More Pain

He wrote the note on Easter Sunday.

"No more pills, no more pain."

And then he shot his wife of forty-nine years, and then he shot himself.

They were seventy three and seventy, a loving couple beset with health problems, he a bad back and she the beginning stages of Alzheimers disease. They couldn't go on, lingering in the abyss of an uncertain future, waiting for things to get worse, because they knew, and we all know  but kid ourselves we don't that at seventy things are not going to get much better.

Life is what happens to people when they are busy making plans for the future, but the future comes quick, and all the planning, and waiting, and hoping for better days disappears and the life we have formed suddenly appears when our days are numbered, and the reaper draws close, and that life may not be as sweet as we had hoped, and the days may be full of boredom, sadness and pain rather than the envisioned laughter, contentment  and joy.

What madness possesses people as end of their time on earth draws close? How do some manage to carry on in the face of certain decline, sickness, loss of function  and increasing pain? Is it fear and an inability to take action, or is it something more?

Are we afraid to die, or is our grasp on the life we are given so cherished that most of us cling to every second, and bear the pain, disappointment and fear that builds to a deafening crescendo as our lives careen down the hill toward the valley and the inevitable crash, or are the few who take action and bring an abrupt end to the suffering the ones who are afraid; has the life they have forged been such a disappointment that ending it is preferable to carrying on?

Are we certain of an afterlife? Will those who quicken their wait be deprived of it, if it exists at all? If we are 100% certain that a blissful existence awaits us, why not pull the trigger, and get on with it? Roll the dice, see what happens, because what happens has got to be better than this, it just has to. Even nothingness is better than this.

But, what if nothingness would be heaven compared to the afterlife for somebody who ended their present one, no matter the conditions that precipitated their demise?

Have we been sentenced to do time in an uncertain existence, bearing pain and suffering while others float through their lives with nary a blemish?

What madness is this?


I hate it when people kill themselves. I hate it even more when they take somebody with them, no matter the reason. It shakes my foundation, and I do not like a shaky foundation. Without a strong foundation, belief system, and productive achievement throughput our lives and an unrelenting nurturing of relationships there won't be much to live for when the going gets rough, as it most certainly will.



  • Mr618 says:

    I don't know about anyone else, but I think if I were without my wife and son, I would certainly consider it. Why should I consign myself to God-only-knows how many years in one of those human waste dumps called nursing homes? Why should I subject myself to neglect, malnuitrition, and all the other faults of the system, especially if I am comatose or vegetative? And if I were cognizant of my surroundings, I sure as hell wouldn't want to go through that.
    Of course, I am incredibly fortunate in that I *DO* have my wife and son. They give me a reason to keep on keepin' on. They also both know I have a living will, DNR, and all the rest of it as well… no sense in being a financial and emotional drain on them if the essential "me" is no longer around.
    You know, when WE hit retirement age — no matter what the pols jack it to in the future — there will be nothing there. Not because the system is bankrupt, but because the pols have raided it repeatedly over the years to fund their own pet projects. Wall Street has ensured our 401(k)'s will be valueless — cause THEY'RE too big to fail, and we're too small to save — and of course pension and retirement plans from employers have gone the way of the Packard, Studebaker, and Rambler.
    I don't want to be one of those homeless, forgotten old men scrounging through dumpsters for scraps of cat food.
    Plus, of course, I wouldn't be a drain on the system, with the next generation of medics having to haul my failing, diseased rear to the hospital to deal with the latest bout of pneumonia or whatever.
    And I bet they wouldn't be as concerned as you are when THEY blog about it.

  • Mr618 says:

    I realized I hadn't read the linked article. After I did read it, I think I would have done exactly the same thing. I wouldn't want to be separated from Linda, and we've only been married nine years (today, in fact). She would have no idea of what was going on around her or who her loved ones were, and her husband wouldn't be there to care for her.
    We may disagree on this one, but I think he made the right decision (assuming, of course, they discussed it and were, in fact, in agreement). They've been together this long, and they didn't want to be a drain on their children, financially or emotionally. I'm sure it was a painful decision, excrutiatingly so, but the correct one, in my view.

  • Steve says:

    So sad, but so brave, too.  I have neighbors who are getting to the stage of not knowing what's going on because of dementia; some are no longer friends, just bodies I used to know very well but not any more…. I hope to avoid that life myself.

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