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Monday, 27 June 2016

Joan (5) - Rest In Peace, my very dear friend

For the past 3 weeks, I had the privilege to be back in Joan's life again after a temporary absence. I tried to get back into her life before but she was holding back. With hindsight I understand. On 6 June 2016, I received her shocking text message that she was terminally ill. The next day I was too paralysed to visit her. Since June 8, we have been reconnecting and better than ever before.

I am proud of her in so many ways. Her strength is an example to all of us. Up until the very last moment - and actually even well beyond that - she has been the conductor of our lives. In her case, I don't mind as I respect her opinion and I know that she respects mine. I also respect Joan's decision. Actually, all of us respect Joan's decision.

Euthanasia is no longer an academic debate to me. A few days ago, I asked her privately if she was totally sure as I didn't want her to be beyond the point of no return. She acknowledged that she was 100% sure and asked me if I still backed her decision. I acknowledged that I fully and wholeheartedly supported her decision. We both saw in each other's eyes that we were honest with each other.

I am not sure if Joan and all of us could endure her sickness much longer. At each visit, I notice a further deterioration in her physical situation. Mentally she is very much aware of what is going on despite the heavy morphine doses against the pain. This discrepancy between mind and body could easily suggest to some that things are less serious than they really are.

To my astonishment, bewilderment and disbelief, her church does not support her decision. I did not respect their public debate on her decision around her sick bed. I was very much upset about that event and was hardly able to restrain my immense anger. Yahweh is a God of Love, Mercy And Forgiveness, and not a God of pain and torture. Ultimately, it is just as simple as that.

Today, I visited Joan for the last time. I will shed my tears at home, while driving, until my arrival. She doesn't like seeing us crying and I have grown accustomed to her wish. Instead I will try to make her smile again but I do notice the pain in her thin smiles.

She asked me not to wear black but earthly colours at her funeral. I have shown her the 2 options and she picked the one I thought she would. My new shoes were also approved. I will go in style as she would always expect from me. She has also asked me to take care of myself. I am not sure if I have fully acknowledged her request. It might be too hard for me for some time but I will recover myself in due course.

Joan has involved us in her decision. Our involvement makes us accept her decision without hesitance. Euthanasia went from an academic debate to an intimate conversation. I won't hold her back from her decision (see 1st June 27 blog). After careful reflection on the why, I concluded that it must be Love. Letting her go rather than fighting her decision, is perhaps the hardest part in loving.

In another 2 hours, I will do my best not to shed a tear and just smile at her. With love.

Paul Carrack - Don't Shed A Tear (1987) - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Don't shed a tear for me 
My life won't end without you
(Without you)
Long as the night will be 
The sun will rise without you


R.I.P. Joan (30 April 1962 - 27 June 2016)

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