(one of many), he lived with locked-in syndrome.
After a court refused him an agreeably
mutual and personal way to end his life
he starved himself and died of pneumonia.
For thirty years I had a friend and mentor
whom I knew only through phone calls
and letters. She did not do e-mail.
For having the urge to share
I wrote much more than her,
and I was happy to give away
my ideas. Even now, so soon after she has gone,
I forget how the stories poured out of me.
I was told after she died how she took her life
by self starvation and pneumonia.
Her closest friend (not her husband)
told me how on her last night she was taken
to hospital, was almost ritually bathed,
and had her final rest in the comfort
of crisp clean hospital sheets.
She too was locked-in, by marriage
and family, not considered to be a person.
More used as property without respect.
The quieter the sense of loss, the less recognised it is,
the more courage we need to exit on our own terms.