August 11, 2016

A California "Going Away" Party

I won't minimize the suffering of people who are terminally ill. It is a terrible financial and emotional drain on the patient and the family.  But there is something "off" about throwing a party to celebrate your upcoming suicide. I just don't get it.

"Hey Mom and Dad, I'm going to kill myself on Saturday. Is it OK if we use the backyard and the pool?"

From the NY Post:
SAN DIEGO — In early July, Betsy Davis emailed her closest friends and relatives to invite them to a two-day party, telling them: “These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness.”

And just one rule: No crying in front of her.

The 41-year-old artist with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, held the gathering to say goodbye before becoming one of the first Californians to take a lethal dose of drugs under the state’s new doctor-assisted suicide law for the terminally ill.

“For me and everyone who was invited, it was very challenging to consider, but there was no question that we would be there for her,” said Niels Alpert, a cinematographer from New York City.
Is this a California thing?
What do you bring? Flowers?
Cut flowers of course, they'll still last longer than the person you're giving them to.

She was a performance artist. That explains a lot.
Her last gig was a killer.
Friends said it was the final performance for the artist, who once drew pictures on a stage with whipped cream.

“What Betsy did gave her the most beautiful death that any person could ever wish for,” Alpert said. “By taking charge, she turned her departure into a work of art.”


Kid said...

Sig, Oddly, this isn't much different to me than a recent event at the company I work at. A lady in her mid-50's came down with cancer. Treatment wasnt having any positive effect so they stopped treatment.

They had an even for her at the company with food, etc and everyone went in and hugged a soon to be dead woman. I didn't mind doing it - she was a friend, but it did seem a little weird. I think it does take a strong mental attitude to hug a soon to be dead person. What do you say? I told her I wished her much comfort in her final time and a quick trip to Heaven.

sig94 said...

Kid - I dunno. Just seems --- odd to me. Maybe it's one of those things that you really have to think about for some time after you discover that you're checking out soon.

Doom said...

Look, when I was first ill, especially since they misdiagnosed it as depression, I knew 'it was over'. But I certainly didn't have someone help, and I didn't have a party. Both of those are morally reprehensible. Suicide may be too, but I think, if in enough pain, God does or may understand.

If most people had to live my life, with the constraints, the medicine, the problems, the pain... they would kill themselves. I only made it beyond because I tried solidly to do it... draino and waiting 12 hours to go in, another poison another time, and a shotgun. What do you say to *click*? I finally just surrendered to the fact that I would have to suffer through. Not all that better now, but... I am a lot better, somehow.

I'm still very much against all that. At least she should do it herself, and not imperil someone else's mortal soul. That is selfish, evil. And a party? That's just creepy. Typical drama queen. And, yes, my condition is considered terminal... from the start if they had diagnosed it correctly. But what is worse? Nations who have enacted those laws are starting to see doctors just "doing it" without consent, and family members wanting inheritance to forcing it on their parents. It goes downhill fast.

Doom said...

Of course, if Bill and Hillary lose, and move to Cali... he could put the cow down. Legally.

sig94 said...

Doom - I'd say you have accepted your condition with more maturity and grace than many.