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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's A Fine Line Between Mercy Killing And Murder

Deciding the fate of another being's life is not a deed to be undertaken recklessly or in haste. Which is why my partner in crime, my hubby Brian, and I are taking a day by day approach on choosing a date to kill our 15 year old blue-eyed beautiful child. Mind you, it's perfectly legal here to engage in a murder for hire. Brian and I will issue the order and charge it on our Visa card, but someone else will inject the poison, declare him dead and hand us his ashes in a black plastic box. All included in the price. Clinically clean and tidy. Except for one problem: we love the little bugger with our entire souls.
Shea is the unsuspecting future victim of this horrific crime. His Sea of Cortez brilliant blue eyes sparkle with love and devotion. He devours his meals with such gusto, a gourmet cook couldn't be prouder. His absolute loyalty and devotion to us make us feel like pond scum. Gratefully Shea is mostly deaf so he can't hear when we openly discuss where to spread his ashes in the definite future. Although paradoxically, he livens up and begins to limp around us, as if saying " I'm fine, I'm feeling better now". Brian and I darkly joke that as long as we keep mentioning his funeral, maybe Shea will stubbornly stick around. After all, he is bossy, this alpha male Australian Shepherd of ours. Yes, of course he's a dog, who do you think he was???
I regretfully came to the brutal realization that I can't "fix" old age. Shea's arthritis, a condition worsened by his grand old Frisbee days, is destroying his quality of life. I didn't surmise that by keeping him healthy all his life, his body would give out before his heart. As much as we his parents desperately pray that he will die in his sleep, his robustly beating heart won't fail him, just us. It seems life is not without irony.
So every day, we wait. Wait for a sign. An undeniable signal that will justify euthanizing him. The cruelty of arthritis destroying his knees and hips is frustrating. How is this not a controllable disease?? Is this the fate that awaits the rest of us who've exercised and eaten right all our lives? The answer is yes, it is. Our bodies will betray us in the end, ungrateful bastards. Except we will wither away in an antiseptic hospital bed, drugged up to the point of being comatose, and dying of starvation, a painful death to be sure. Nobody to put us out of our misery, no mercy killing for us. Some argue euthanasia is murder, Dr. Kevorkian went to prison for such an act. Yet, if you've ever seen someone terminally ill, the swiftness of the angel of death is welcomed.
I know Shea's death will be an act of mercy when the time finally arrives. My bouncing Tigger not able to walk on his own four legs will be the sign we need. Until then, my hope remains unabated as I continue to stuff my huggingly soft, furry one with anti-inflammatories, glucosamine, Cetyl M, omega 3's, ginger, massage and showers of kisses.