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?
(Rumi)

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.

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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: http://is.gd/i3jDg (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.

    Mom

    December 1, 2010 at 10:12 AM

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

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=691855

    Adam

    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.

    Libby

    December 1, 2010 at 4:51 PM

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

    Hope

    December 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM


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