Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Life Decisions

with 5 comments

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

A member of our extended family left this world yesterday on a mule-shaped rocket made of caffeinated stars. Being sound of mind and pure of soul, it was something he chose to do. Thanks again, Oregon, for being lawfully awesome.

Cancer is a ninja, and then a wrecking ball. It creeps into your life until you look around and realize: it’s everywhere, every day, all the fucking time. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are rife with cancer journeys, cancer awareness, necessary fundraising, emotional updates, battles won and battles lost. As I get older, I know more and more people affected by cancer — or hear about it, after the fact, like “Oh, you didn’t know?” — which feels like holding on to an 80-pound fish during a log-rolling contest on an ocean made of chainsaws.

Can I just state the very-fucking-obvious? I don’t like cancer. No one does. It’s the friend who drinks all your booze at a party and then passes out naked on the kitchen table. I mean, yeah sure, I’ve done that — but it’s not like I woke up the next day, tied you to a stake, and lit you on fire to slowly watch you burn. Cancer does all that and then leaves you with the check. It’s inconsiderate, unfeeling, unstable, un-medicated. It exists for itself alone, and grows in humans like parasitic mistletoe on parade. I hate cancer with every molecule that exists in the universe.

(The reality is: it exists. And it’s helped people in other ways, in the Learning About Oneself and Getting The Most Out of Life departments. Still doesn’t mean I’m a fan.)

This assisted-suicide business is glaringly intense, but I support it. It’s an individual choice about managing pain and how you want to experience the last moments of your life. A good man — a brilliant doctor, dad, husband, human — made the best choice for himself yesterday. No more unmanageable pain, no drawn-out terror for the entire family. I know that nothing can prepare you for the reality of death, the finality of that moment, but surely there is gratitude and relief at having sweet autonomy? To see a fork in the road, instead of one long, unending path? This was a celebration of someone controlling their own destiny, eyes wide open. To walk with open arms towards death, to welcome it in the presence of family; it’s fucking courageous. It’s eye-opening and confusing and crazy and realistic. It’s a lot of things.

In the end, of course I made it about me. What if this happened to my dad? My mom? What about my siblings, or my boyfriend? What if I was faced with this kind of decision? Who would take care of our stable of unicorns?! DEAR GOD, HOW COULD I EVER–

–it doesn’t matter. The mind is not on our side; it’s kind of a drama queen. What matters in life is now. So many things could happen in the future; to imagine each one of them, especially the worst, is to condemn myself to a lifetime of worry. I’ll cross those yellow-bricked bridges if I have to, and only when they appear.

Right now I just want to honor this family member. Joe’s life was extraordinary, in every sense of the word. He will always be remembered, celebrated, missed, and seen on YouTube.


Written by sn0tteh

December 1, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristi Waite, sally simpleton and Arturo-sans, Marika Malaea. Marika Malaea said: Wherein I talk about Cancer behind its back and celebrate a family member who died yesterday: (blog post) […]

  2. Dearest Bee,
    Thank you. Such heart. Today is my 6 year anniversary of NOT dying. I am so grateful. Of course, I guess one could say that EVERY DAY!!! May we stay “awake” in this life. I so love you.


    December 1, 2010 at 10:12 AM

  3. Here’s Savage’s take. Couldn’t agree more.


    December 1, 2010 at 12:02 PM

  4. I always find it odd hoe careless people are about life — until someone wants to die. It’s so hypocritical.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Joe sounds like a neat guy.


    December 1, 2010 at 4:51 PM

  5. This is a really great post. Thanks for writing it.


    December 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM

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