The straight line is godless and immoral

(In)dignity

Dying is a solo act.
ALEXANDER PETROYSAN/ UNKNOWN

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She was covered in unexplained bruises; fluid was drained daily; oxygen pumped into her nose; urine, blood and sputum leaked and oozed from orifices.

Marie sobbed every day. She relentlessly prayed that God would take her. She begged the doctors daily for a needle to end it all. Pressure sores were forming on her once milky skin. She barely ate. Her tongue was swollen, dark red, and eventually split and bled profusely. Dr. X greeted her and grinned, adding that she was doing well. Marie did impersonations of him by grinning like a Cheshire cat and then declaring he was “an idiot” and “shit-scared.”

Patricia Gillespie is a writer and editor who has put her career on hold to care full-time for her mother. She is also a PhD student at the University of Melbourne. Above is an excerpt from her essay, “On the last rights of the elderly,” which was featured in Overland Literary journal issue 202, autumn 2011, pp 38-44.

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