This morning at the post office I told an old woman that I hoped she would drop dead.
There's a woman I see here in Lloyd and I recognize her. She bought a house of mine about ten miles from here, back in, oh, I don't know. 1986? '87? Something like that. It was my beloved cracker house that my first husband and I had moved onto some property we owned and restored. When I got divorced, I felt like I had to move to town because I was a single mother and needed to go back to college and I needed to be able to get my babies to their preschool and I didn't need to be driving back and forth all the time and plus, I was young and afraid of living on my own deep in the country where I needed bulldogs to keep me safe.
Or at least, that's how I felt.
I held on to the house for some years and when I met Mr. Moon, his parents actually lived in that house for awhile. But then it came time to sell and we sold it to this lady and she lives there still. I don't think she remembers who I am. She just recognizes me now as that woman who walks and whom she sees at the Lloyd post office, which is like the pond in the middle of the Kalahari desert, where all the animals meet to drink.
This woman is an artist. She taught at FSU and her art was sculpture which she made by welding. She made HUGE sculptures. She made big art. And she can't do it any more and I don't know how she and I got to the subject of death so quickly in our quick encounter at the PO this morning but it did. I mean, one minute I'm holding the door open for her and the next minute, we're talking suicide.
She told me that since she can't do her art anymore, she feels as if her life has been taken from her. And that she's old. And her children don't live near her and that they talk about putting her in a nursing home and she wants to stay in that house with her two dogs (one, a bull mastiff, weighs 200 pounds and the other dog weighs 100 pounds) and she loves her solitude but dammit, when it's time to go, she wants to be able to just go. She said she's thought about cutting her wrists in the bathtub and instead of freaking out, I said, "Yeah, but it takes such courage and fortitude!"
"You're right!" she said. "Every way to end your own life is so hard and horrible! Why can't we just get help?"
And we talked about our dogs and how, when it's time for them to go, we do just that. We release them from their pain, from their misery and so why do we have to stick around and suffer?
It was quite a conversation. I told her that I've thought about this a lot. And that I completely agree with her.
She said that she doesn't believe in capital punishment- that it's not right to take someone else's life but that when you're done with yours, you should be able to go on.
"It's so HARD to die," she said. And you know, sometimes it just is.
So she sat there in her car and I stood there with my mail and we talked about all these things and about what makes life worth living and how neither one of us wants to linger forever and have people taking care of our decrepit old bodies and I said, "My hope for you is that you just suddenly drop dead one day and that's my hope for myself, too."
And she thanked me and said that's what she hoped for. No suffering and no miseries. Just be gone.
And I am thinking about her tonight in her house alone, the house I spent a lot of time in in my younger life, just down the road from here. She said she lies in bed and reads- that she can still get pleasure from reading and thank god- and her blue eyes were sharp and beautiful and I hope they last as long as she does and I hope her good brain does too.
It's been a long, good day, and Kathleen's appointment with Doctor DreamyMcCutie Pie went very well and he showed us pictures of his darling babies and he hugged Kathleen and it was all fine. And I studied lines and had a rehearsal and Owen is coming tomorrow at six a.m. and Mr. Moon got home and is off at a basketball game but I am thinking of that lady, that lady whom I told I hoped would get the great, good gift of dropping suddenly dead and I can see her, with her giant dogs on either side of her, slipping into peace the way Pearl did in my arms when the vet gave her that sweet shot. I hope for her sake that's how it happens. That it doesn't turn out to be hard to die. For her, at least.
I was grateful to be able to have such a real conversation about such real things. That we understood each other and there was no bullshit about it. That when she said that about cutting her wrists in the bathtub, I didn't feel I had to say, "Oh, no! You wouldn't do THAT!"
We're all going to die. And if we humans had a lick of sense about it all, we'd be able to have options for that certain ending as much as we do about whether or not to get pregnant or where to go to school or what to make our lives look like or where to go for dinner after the show. We wouldn't spend our entire lives pretending it was never going to happen to us.
Or our loved ones.
I'm not going to go into a big rant on euthanasia here. I'm just going to say that today I told an old woman that I hope that she gets to drop dead and she thanked me and it was awesome.
And if I love you, I will wish the same for you.
And I would hope you would wish the same for me.