wings and things

Dead or alive?

on April 17, 2012

This picture was taken at Husband’s 75th birthday party 14 months ago. A lot has changed since then, to say the least….


I hesitate to write this post because I realize it might provoke the ire of some, but, when Husband said yesterday that it would be better for everyone if he died, I caught myself thinking yes and no in the same moment.

Obviously, my no response was the one I went with in order to comfort Husband and, when I saw him later in the day (he had been ambulanced back from the local hospital to the nursing lodge, but I didn’t know this at the time), I reiterated this no.

On the other hand, now that Husband, Son and I have managed to crack the shell of the boiled egg of death, that yes is a tempting thought if only to relieve Husband’s suffering in relation to his recent downhill ‘slide’ into this new phase of Parkinson’s disease.

Euthanasia is a terrifying topic; it is also utterly out of the question for us, but Husband is no longer in the throes of life but in the throes of death. This latter point is not an emotional statement; it is a statement of fact.

The other evening, as I was tucking Husband into bed here at home, I said, “Sometimes, when I can’t wake you up, I think you’re dead.” In reply, he said, drowsily, “That would be a good outcome,” and he actually chuckled. You see, I told you he is a hero!

I am not sure what Husband, Son and I are supposed to wish for anymore….

80 responses to “Dead or alive?

  1. Sarah Goyder says:

    Sending thoughts to you, uncle Anthony and Ming Jules! Big kisses to you all! X

  2. Jules may I suggest that you three wish for just grace & mercy?

    And sweetie you may not be wonderful, but you are MY hero this mointh!

  3. tootlepedal says:

    These are tough times for you. It’s hard to know what to think sometimes.

  4. camsgranny says:

    I completely understand this, and I have even thought this, but been to scared to voice it (for my situation.) {HUGS}

  5. Ingrid Rickersey says:

    I understand completely and wish you all peace. All you can do is take each day now as it comes and what a privelege and awesome life you three have had so far. And now is preparing for the next stage … a different stage for each of you but just as significant for each one of you .

  6. camsgranny says:

    I completely understand this, and in my situation, I have even thought this, but am to scared to voice this. {HUGS}. I just pray alot for mercy. And also, You are amazing as well!

    • jmgoyder says:

      Yes, I was very scared to admit that we have all voiced this to each other now (just every now and then but esp. lately – argh). I thought I would get heaps of flak for saying this – thanks so much CG!

  7. melissakoski says:

    I imagine your “yes” and “no” thoughts on death being best are common when faced with the downhill slope of the quality of life. You’re in my thoughts during these dramatic changes.

  8. Michelle says:

    You’re right Jules, he is a hero!

  9. shoreacres says:

    My mother and I began dealing with this after she turned 90. Her friends were all gone, family nearly so, and she was beginning to become truly frail. She wanted to die, and often was quite irritated to wake up in the morning and find herself still here! Sometimes, she wanted to die to relieve me the burden of caring for her, and sometimes she just was tired of life.

    And let’s be clear – there were times when I thought caring for her was truly a burden beyond bearing. But we both bore up, and as always happens, things worked themselves out. they will for you, too.

  10. Sue says:

    Wish for a peaceful closure.

  11. Terri Louise says:

    It is the hardest stage of all to say goodbye to the man you love and have been loved back. It is the hardest stage for all of you. Hold onto the good moments. Let the bad one’s slide away and wish him peace and relief and love. No one can fault you for being human and not wanting to see him suffer. Hugs my dear…..

  12. Judith Post says:

    Comes with the territory. But I’ve watched quite a few people take more time than they wanted to dying. And like a lot of other things in life, we have little control over it. All we can do is give it our best…and hope for the best.

  13. I wrestled with these thoughts during my mother’s final days battling cancer. Euthanasia for animals is considered humane; yet euthanasia for humans is a different matter altogether. Crazy. Sending good wishes your way!

  14. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter what we think or wish. It will happen the way it will happen. But I have often thought it was sad that we make people suffer when they would rather we let them go. We don’t make our dogs suffer as inhumanely as what we force our loved ones to endure.

  15. Trisha says:

    Such a heartbreaking time you’re going through. My heart goes out to you.

  16. Randy Roberts says:

    I knew you were thinking about relief when I was reading your stuff the other day. This sucks! The man you love is fading away and you have a front row seat. And you get to survive. And you get all the guilt that accompnies surviving.

  17. janechese says:

    So well said. Letting go is not easy for the one who is leaving and the ones who are left, especially when it is a long process.. I am hearing some acceptance here, and love. I watched my mother for years struggle with MS attacks and remissions; the only thing that was predictable was the unpredictability.Keep writing, Julie,Jane

  18. Such hard times, these end of days… There is never an easy path, and as a society we do ‘death’ so badly – not talking about it, not sharing our hopes and fears and experiences with others. Just keep loving each other and take things one day at a time, the good days and bad days. And I pray for you that the good outnumber the bad. Life is such a fragile blessing. Much love to you xx

  19. Robyn Lee says:

    I know these moments…this thought process. It is reasonable to “go there” when there is extreme suffering. I’m not sure what is right or wrong, but I think it’s healthy for you, son and husband to be honest with one another. One small step at a time Jules. Hang in. You are in my heart.

    • jmgoyder says:

      You are more than generous to even comment when you are going through what you are going through – I feel blessed to have met you!

      • Robyn Lee says:

        I feel the same. I’m hoping i can keep up with the blogging – things here are just in decline mode with me physically 😦 Now please don’t kill me when I name you amongst my nominees tonight for multiple blog awards. No pressure to do anything with them- just want you to know you are tops in my book. xo

      • jmgoyder says:

        You are such a great person and don’t worry I won’t kill you for naming me!

  20. Tilly Bud says:

    It’s a crazy world we live in when we will kill a suffering animal but not a suffering human – but that’s it, isn’t it? ‘Kill’. It seems so wrong to take a human life, but sometimes, is it fair not to? The commandment is actually ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ Is it murder when the intent is to relieve suffering? I don’t think so. I watched my father-in-law suffer a lingering death and it was cruel.

    Then we have the other side of it, that we legalise euthenasia and people start feeling obliged to be killed off, so as not to inconvenience relatives; or greedy relatives think that maybe it’s time for grandma to go…

    The only sure thing is that there are no easy answers.

    You should not feel bad for having these thoughts. There is no doubt you love your husband; and what you are all suffering is cruel. You need the release of thinking the unthinkable, because you have to prepare for the inevitable.

    I wish I could help.

    • jmgoyder says:

      You really have helped with that comment, Tilly, and I am reassured once again that it is okay to speak the otherwise unspeakable in this kind of context. Thank you so much!

  21. bluebee says:

    When my Dad was dying and was in such a state of pain and disability he actually asked my Mum to take his life and she said to me that she wished he had died from an earlier unrelated medical issue (which would have been a sudden and unexpected death) – there were these terribly dark moments but also moments of humour and long chats about their life together (which wasn’t a bed of roses) – but in the end, he had gained a newfound respect and love for her and she was glad to know that she had done everything within her power to care for him and make him comfortable, and was glad for the time they had to talk – but she was also relieved when he died. It is terrible to witness someone you love suffer, Julie, and the emotions and thoughts you are all having are very normal and human. And your and your husband’s humour in the midst of it all is a gift 🙂

  22. He is a hero – and so are you! I know that you will not accept that label, but your honesty in your posts is quite heroic in my opinion. I think that you have given many people in this situation a very eloquent voice.

  23. batgurrl says:

    Honey – I said it Sunday, we all need to learn the lesson of be glad for what we have and stop whining. Time is so short and we tend to waste it. You know our love, prayers and thoughts are with you. Tough times but you are a heroine sharing all this so candidly with the world.

    Take care of your self!! r

  24. pixilated2 says:

    You are so utterly honest, and you need to be. We understand what is going on, and to some degree what you are going through. Though we can’t really know till we’ve been there too.
    ~ Lynda

  25. It looks like you’ve been navigating through the various stages of grief as your husband’s disease progresses. I’ve never been in your situation so I wouldn’t be able to share much on the subject. The only thing that comes through my mind is that it probably helps with the grieving process that your husband is slowly going away, compared to people who pass away suddenly, without any warning. You’ll be closer to the acceptance stage by the end, which may make it “easier” to say goodbye.

    Did you ever read Tuesdays with Morrie? It was such a great insight at someone going through a slow death and how he responded to his ordeal.

  26. victoriaaphotography says:

    You’re supposed to wish for magical moments and unforgetable memories. You’re supposed to wish for a good laugh every precious day you spend together. You supposed to wish for the strength to endure those difficult days (and there will be many in the coming days, months and years in the near future)…………of course, I WISH for you, that this time will be full of love and tender moments.

    As a single person without a partner – an incurable romatic, I am envious of that special love affair that endures.

    In many ways, you, Son and Husband are very blessed indeed.

    (Euthanasia is a controversial topic, but there is a time and place when one wishes for all suffering to end. Don’t feel guilty about having little flashes of that wish, it shows how much you love a person, not how much you wish for the end).

  27. cuhome says:

    This is a really tough concept for most to even consider, but go with your gut and with what Husband says. I don’t think any one of us knows what we would do in your situation or Husband’s situation, unless we were there, living it. Some people choose quantity over quality, and others choose quality over quantity. It’s such an intimately personal thing. My heart reaches out to you. ♥

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thank you so much for this intuitive comment – btw I am still not getting notifications from your blog. I’ll suss again today.

      • cuhome says:

        Thanks. I wrote to WordPress “contact”, and they said to have you check your “spam box”. . . maybe my email notifications have been erroneously routed there. Another thing is to click at the top of my website where it says “follow” (if you haven’t already). Thanks for keeping me posted! I am getting your notifications! I wonder if there are others you aren’t getting?

      • jmgoyder says:

        Will check out tonight – gotta go put the gang away!

  28. cuhome says:

    I actually wrote a post on this subject, just last week, and if you go to my website (, click on “Choosing Death”. It deals with the exact thing you are addressing. I didn’t get many responses on it, and I understand why: it’s a very difficult thing to even consider. It’s not pretty to watch someone die naturally, and it’s not pretty to watch someone make a decision (or have to make the decision for someone else) to end their life sooner than nature would take them. But it’s a reality that I’ve seen many people face. You are not “bad”, and Husband is not “bad” to consider that option. It’s just not widely accepted, so people like yourself are put in a position, are put in a situation where they are isolated, alone. And that should not be. Are you able to talk with Husband’s physician about this? ♥

  29. Finn Holding says:

    I can see exactly where you’re coming from here Julie, things get to a point where life becomes unlivable for the person who is poorly but also the people fulfilling the support role. You’re bearing the situation with incredible bravery and no one has the right to tell you whether you are wrong, or indeed right, they’re not in you’re boots and therefore aren’t in a position to judge. You show a heroic level of patience, dedication and simple love in relating your story as it unfolds, and it’s utterly inspirational!

  30. angelasommers says:

    You are one strong and admirable lady! Here’s someone rooting for you in far away California! 🙂 Know that you are awesome!

  31. Going through a similar journey with my Dad, after losing my Mom last November to heart failure. The spirit’s journey away from the body can take so many different paths. Parkinson’s is such an awful one (and it’s hard to see it as “awe-full”).

  32. Don’t wish for death. Wish for life, happiness, peace, joy, love……………

  33. harlsmits says:

    Just tell each other how much you love each other every chance you get!

    I lost my father in 2010 after he battled with Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments, and at the end it was a blessing that he passed. It still doesn’t make his absence any easier though.

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