MIDWAY : When death is a drama

Dipesh Parajuli

Once the doctor decided to discontinue dialysis, we knew it was all over. My grandma had a chronic kidney failure and had been under medical care for several months. That day when the doctor withdrew all sorts of medical lifelines, erasing any chances for her recuperation, we could only wait for the inevitable. She spent hours lying on bed like a patient in a state of coma, fatigued and unconscious. At times she seemed to be in great pain. Her face turned pallid and eyes remained closed. And just about when we thought she had departed, she would again open her eyes, even if to let the tears fall. Everyone interpreted the tears to be a manifestation of her inner fear to die. But I could feel grandma’s hatred towards a disabled life. In fact those were the tears yelling for a death. A cruel but inevitable whiff of it would have certainly alleviated her prolonged suffering. But that was not to be.

Death was playing hide and seek with her emotions. That was the time I realised how cruel death can be. At times it traps a happy, jolly man under its ambush out of the thin air and at others it deliberately lets those in pain sufferer. Eventually, after a long episode of her misery, when my grandma passed away, I got into an emotional turmoil: whether to cry for the loss or rejoice for the end of her suffering. Recently, the Terry Schiavo spectacle had the world heady about the controversial issue of euthanasia. After witnessing the death of my grandma I now believe euthanasia to be a fair act when a person’s health has deteriorated beyond the point of no return. There is some truth in the thought that terminally ill and suffering patient be spared undue suffering for years on end.

It’s so easy to be emotional and say life shouldn’t be lost at any cost. But when living is worse than death itself, euthanasia comes into the mind. The West might have been torn asunder between religious right and realists about the issue, Schiavo didn’t need a middle path between death and life. Her husband had a point when he said she suffered enough. The Bard wrote long before these controversies got the better of us. He said, “Let not death be so.” But we do not have the power to say, “Let it be so.” Yet, it is not death which is terrible. It is the process of dying which is actually painful. But my grandma’s last breath was no doubt a step towards easing of pain. She didn’t deserve so much of it at her age. This experience has changed my views on euthanasia.