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With a heavy heart

By Robin Dearing

When Margaret said we seem to be dealt more than our fair share of crumby cards, I smiled thinly and said that what we are suffering is an overabundance of the turmoils of life. For a 13-year-old, she's had to endure more sickness and loss than most adults will ever experience in a lifetime.

Right now as I type this, my husband is in DePew, New York outside of Buffalo. It took him two days of flying and shuttling between the two Chicago area airports to get there due to the unfortunately timed polar vortex. He wouldn't have made it until today had a cousin not bought him a new ticket to fly out of Chicago.  

Bill made the trip despite the horrible weather because his lovely, bright, generous mother, Clara Palmer, is suffering from kidney failure brought on by diabetes and the associated heart disease. She is too ill to treat. 

I have a lot of strong opinions on the horrible way we are forced to endure the process of dying. If you've never had to sit by while your family member or loved one is forced to endure the weeks or even months that it takes for the human body to finally give up the ghost, consider yourself charmed. It is cruel punishment, indeed. We don't make our pets suffer the indignities of suffering through the final stages of death.

My heart is breaking for my husband, sister-in-law and all those many people who love my dear, kind mother-in-law. There are few worse situations.

I wish there was something I could type here that would make some difference or somehow make this situation better. But we've decided as a culture that being alive at any cost is somehow better than dying in peace and with dignity.

I could go on about this, but let me go back to the conversation I had with Margaret about us having more than our fair share of illness and death. We have suffered a lot, but I reminded her that we also have a lot for which to be thankful. We have a safe and warm home, healthy food, access to quality healthy care, good jobs, loving family and friends, the opportunity to travel. We have more than most. Are we lucky? Is it a fair trade off? No. But life isn't fair and crumby cards or not, we've got to keep playing the ones we are dealt.


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It will be a giant step for mankind when we finally let people leave this world when they are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready rather than when it is time physically. Hang in there, you and your loved ones.

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