At noon today, Pacific time, Malcolm (Rory’s other grandfather) will take his own life.
Malcolm is such a survivor. In a way, it feels like the only fitting end for him. He fought through illness, dialysis, a transplant, anti-rejection drugs, skin cancers, pneumonia — he hung onto life with all his will. At Rory’s naming ceremony, thirteen years ago, it was clear that Malcolm had very little time left. And yet here we are today.
Over the course of the last year, taking care of him became overwhelming at home, so he entered a nursing home. He must have hated it, because after a short time, he chose to stop all medications and come home for what was expected to be a few short weeks. A few months later, he’s gotten to spend time with all his children and grandchildren, but the summer’s over, and I think now must just feel like the right time.
I think of him dying and I’m filled with sad. It’s been obvious for years that he didn’t have much time left, that any visit could be the last, and yet… I think we just always hope that life will continue.
At the same time, I’m glad he doesn’t have to go through the indignity and misery of the last days. My mom’s hospice was lovely, but catheters, drugs by suppository, position changes to avoid bedsores — not to mention pain, nightmares, and terminal agitation — those things are not fun.
Malcolm’s taking control of his death. Go, Washington State. Thank you for giving him that option.
But my mother died one month ago today. And Malcolm will be gone in an hour or so (assuming all goes as planned.)
And, oh, I am sad.