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You will die. I don’t know when, but you will. I now suppose we have three scenarios: dying tragically, naturally suddenly, or slowly. In this case, a slow death showed the dice.
If you’re handed a slow death, also pray for the ones that will care for you. Might be a wife, husband, daughter, son, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, a friend. Their life too will be uprooted without mercy. At best, and in the best of conditions, you and she or he had time to talk and say it all. That was my case. Or maybe you don’t talk about anything and move about as if everything’s alright. You’re either out there staking any second you can get for yourself, or you forget you. That was my case as well.
Imagine you now from the beyond. Who would care for you? Would they do it for love? No medal. Nothing. What would your slow death impose on them? Perhaps they get sick themselves. Do you see they’re exhausted, spent, defeated? Are they grieving or relieved you’re gone? Or both? Maybe they feel guilty and broken for providing negligent care, for their inability to pay for healthcare. Or like many other cases, they’re spent financially, broke, for giving more than they could afford. The caregiving circumstance stabs a human life like a monster bucket-wheel excavator. Leaving a person practically barren from giving.
And yet, there’s this moral knowing that caring and giving is the thing to do. Standing by my beloved as he withered away was heart-wrenching. Something about experiencing life-and-death in a country that offers universal health care, made me think long-and-hard about the U.S.’ startling careless contempt for human life. How can it be possible? It’s a miracle, isn’t it? How we’re made, how we’re born, how we grow, how then we die.
I think of people caring for loved ones who have little, nothing, or no one. I think of families who are working together but still need tons of help; or a wife who is carrying it all. I think of the logic behind labor laws that take away healthcare when people need it the most, leaving them destitute. We have no safety net in the United States. The practical realm carries on with work, bills, groceries, cooking, laundry, house chores, travel time to anywhere, taking the children to school, taking parents to doctors, taking yourself to the doctor, other pluses, and managing it all as best as is humanly possible. The every-man-for-himself policy combined with the patient penalizing private health insurance market, nickels-and-dimes our lives. A grave disgrace.
For Denmark, my admiration; and a deep well of gratitude for Herlev Hospital in Copenhagen where I experienced days that changed my life. There was a lot of beauty amidst the sadness. Healthcare is a human right. Don't forget that. The rest is intransigence.
This book is a gesture of acknowledgment for caregivers. I know you’re there.