I don’t want to be old that way

Sometimes you hear about, or talk to people whose parents don’t recognise them any more. That sounds sad. It’s even more sad when it happens to you. Like it did to me today. Dad was talking to me for a while already when suddenly he said, “The other one is coming too.” I asked him whom he was talking about. “Paul. He lives far away, and he has cats.”

Brain malfunctionWhen you hear that, it’s quite a shock. I told him I am that Paul. That surprised him. A little while later he started again about Paul. The one from Cuijk. Something like that makes me think.

Do I want to be old like that? Who does he think I am now? How often did he now know who I was before?

My Dad has been ‘slipping’ for a while already, and sometimes that’s hard to see. I know it’s hard on him as well; I can tell that from the look in his eyes and the pain in his voice. Everything becomes a jumble. Bookkeeping, computers, taxes, the past, the present, everything that once was and… perhaps even what never was? Today he told me, “It’s no good living like this.” He suffers from this too because he often has very clear moments and then he knows that in his head everything’s going wrong.

I don’t want to be old like that. When the time comes I want a dignified end. A good death. That is why I became a member of the Dutch Society for Euthanasia. Because, really, I don’t want to be old that way…

2 thoughts on “I don’t want to be old that way”

  1. My mum has echoed those thoughts. Her mum ended up being afflicted with alzheimer’s which has made my mum worry that she will contract it. She told us kids that if she does, she doesn’t want to live life like that and that we should look into ending her life humanely. She is in her early 80’s now and still of sound mind, So I don’t think we will need to honour her wish.

    1. Indeed, if she’s still healthy in spirit and able to say what she wants, there’s no reason for that.
      It does pay to be ‘prepared’, like having a paper signed by her that she wants her life to be ended after no longer being able to enjoy it, or tell people about it.

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