I want to live long (well, not any more). I know you want to live long too. Old age is a blessing and grey hair is a sign of wisdom. At least that’s what we’ve been made to believe. So we all want to live long until one day we’ll realize that living long is a wish we shouldn’t have had.
My grandma had stroke and she was living with us during the dying embers of her illustrious life. Doctors described her stroke as a minor stroke. She was able to walk but not for long and she could talk to us with a clear voice. So much money was spent on her to get well but there was no improvement. This woman was in pain and everyday she wished she was dead. She was 79. Every morning that I went to her to help her take her drugs, she kept asking the same question; “When will death come for me? In my situation now, even if I get well, of what use will I be to this family”?
At a point she realized she was growing lean. That broke her heart a little more. She was more concern about the fact that eventually she will die and wouldn’t have a beautiful corpse on display. Everyday she wanted to die. The only reason she wouldn’t commit suicide was that she thought it wasn’t graceful for someone her age. Two years later, she finally had her wish. I cried but I was happy for her.
I was waiting for my turn to see the doctor in a hospital. They brought a man in a wheelchair to join the queue that I was in. The man in the wheelchair was a man in pain. Everybody looked at him with this sympathetic face. He couldn’t urinate by natural means so there was a rubber tube inserted in his penis. He looked paralyzed judging from his posture. This man can’t move his lips to say something even when he wanted to. There was no aura of blessing in his situation…he was a dying man being tortured by long life. He was 92 years.
Now, 4 reasons why you don’t have to wish for a long life;
#1. You don’t need a longer life to prove you’ve lived. All you need is enough years of usefulness. When you’re too old and weak and immobile, it’s pain. It’s a pain to yourself and to your family who have to be around to take care of you. Family members have to carry your shit and wipe your ass anytime you do it. You lose your grace as human and family members get pissed off because your shit smells so bad but they have to carry it everyday.
#2. Long life is suffering. Your body begins to give up on you. One after the other, they begin to fail you. After many years of walking, one day your legs will give up. It has carried your weight for far too long. Your eyesight may fail you, cos it has seen many lights and many darkness for far too many years. That’s when you begin to suffer.
#3. Long Life means you’ll have to bury most of your love ones. That is not cool. Too many people don’t live too long these days. You might have to go through broken heart of having to listen to the news of the deaths of all the people you loved. Many friends will fall along the way and you’ll be the one to always do the crying. You’ll be a sad man, eventually
#4. You’ll be sick, often. Even when you’re healed, you couldn’t go back to being strong again. Do you want to know how it feels like to be healed but not being able to do anything? Long life is sickness….
Charlotte Perkins Gilman committed suicide and left this note behind; “When all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.”
We might not have the courage to choose a quick and easy death. It sits wrong with our faith. The least we could do is to stop wishing for a long life. The next time you wish me a long life…kindly add “without suffering”, me too, will like to go when all usefulness is over….when I can’t write again.
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