You may not control life’s circumstances,
but getting to be the author of your life [and death]
means getting to control what you do with them.
– Dr. Atul Gawande
Proposition 106 on the Colorado ballot would allow terminally ill patients, under very specific circumstances, “to receive a prescription … that can be self-administered to bring about death.” Calling this a “right to die” amendment is a misnomer. Death is an inalienable right we’ve all been endowed with by our Creator, just like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The issue isn’t death; it’s having a say in how we meet it. In his insightful book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Dr. Atul Gawande explains that, “Being mortal is about the struggle to cope with the constraints of our biology, with the limits set by genes and cells and flesh and bone.”
How will we face death when we reach our limit? The same way we have faced life. The way we live every day will influence how we live our last day. Dr. Gawande recommends striving for “well-being.”
Well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way.
“What am I living for?” is a great question to periodically ask ourselves. Here’s an even better question: “Who am I living for?”