Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Hands Across the Seas, Part IV (Final Chapter)
Sarah Meyer of Rodmell, East Sussex, died of complications from bladder cancer shortly after 11:00 PM on 3rd March 2010. She was 73. Cremation service has been scheduled for 19th March. In accordance with her wish, ashes will be scattered at the Cornish Coast.
This is a tribute to Sarah, not a lament for her.
Her posts under Index Research covered a wide range of topics -- from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to torture; Guantanamo; intrusive surveillance of civilian populations; Israel's use of cluster bombs in Lebanon; war crimes, including use of white phosphorus shells in highly populated areas in Gaza; the environment, and her own experience of being afflicted with cancer.
A post in January, 2009:
There is talk these days of (new buzz word) “disproportionate” bombing. Tell me, what is proportionate bombing? Are those civilians - women and children - murdered in the Gaza strip, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan killed by "proportionate" bombs? It is the illegal and unjust wars that are disproportionate. Those who are silent about, or support these criminal actions are themselves criminals.E-mail dated Jan 11, 2009:
The birds yesterday filled the garden. I thought of them, perhaps sentimentally, as Gazans in a market, wishing them love and hope. Today, they are splashing in the water, and drinking ... which Gazans are unable to do.
That was Sarah, scathing in her denunciation of warmongers.
And in another:I do so love the sound of rain on window panes, and watching
the thrushes in their morning birdbaths. Sometimes sparrows
or coal tits try to muscle in, unsuccessfully. They come back
later for their splash orgies.
No sadness, please ... though I appreciate that, too. I am not sad.Wistful, however, with the autumn, wondering if it is symbolic for
me, or not?
More and more people are making it known that in case of terminal illness they do not wish to go through invasive medical procedures and end their lives hooked up to tubes. However, not all who believe in the Right to Die and Death With Dignity have Sarah's strength to adhere to that position when faced with the decision to decline treatment.
Nothing in my medical training qualifies me to judge what kind of life is satisfying or worth living. Many would say that if we were to become paralyzed in an accident, just let us die. But many quadriplegics, once they've gone through an initial period of adjustment, find their lives very satisfying. Patients can and do make enormous efforts and fight precipitous odds to get back to life as they knew it, or even just to go on living. But the difference for many elderly is that what's waiting for them at the end of this illness is just another illness, and another struggle.
This isn't about euthanasia. It's not about spiraling health care costs. It's about the gift of life -- and death. It is about living life and death with dignity, and letting go.