Chicago Tribune: Commentary: The painful realities of getting old

September 25, 2023

An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune commentary, “The painful realities of getting old,” by Stephen J. Lyons, published September 16, 2023:

“On the occasion of my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday, I asked for her thoughts as she contemplated a second century. ‘Keep your mind open and your mouth shut!’ she quickly replied. I disagreed with the latter part of that sentence, but out of respect I kept my mouth shut.
Four months later she passed away. Her dying took more time than we would have wished, and it was both painful for her and for us to witness… She lasted 12 days, much of the time still in discomfort despite doses of morphine. When she would awake she would look around and sigh with disappointment, ‘Oh, so I’m still alive.’…
Is this what we want for our elderly loved ones?…
We cannot control when we die, but shouldn’t we be able to? My dear mother-in-law contributed money to Compassion & Choices… Ten states and Washington, D.C., now allow a compassionate avenue to depart this world on one’s own terms. In a 2018 “Gallup Values and Beliefs” poll, 72% of Americans favored (medical aid in dying).”



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