Last night I had a very brief yet fruitful conversation with my mother. I called her to advise her that in the upcoming days she would be receiving a copy of my living will. Although she was really surprised that I would call her for that, she did say that she expected this. Like us, she has spent the past months bombarded with images and the name Terri Schiavo and she has her own thoughts on the situation and the topic in general.
I come from a family that lives in a perpetual conversation. We have discussed or are in the process of discussing everything. For us, there is no such thing as "the worse" because we are prepared for everything.
Anyway, I quickly but precisely explained to her the importance of quality versus quantity in my life. Being able to experience and participate in my own life is what I consider to be the essence of life in itself and that without it I would be living my idea of a personal hell. She understood that.
She was also very receptive of my explanation about why I don't want to be alive if I can't be alive on my own (machine-free). This really surprised me because I was like "Call Dr. Kevorkian if you must, but just kill me and do it quickly". But this she understood and respected as well. I told her that if I die that I don't want to be resuscitated. Milk comes with an expiration date, I probably have one too. It seems unnecessary that I should be brought back from the dead so other people can feel better.
The conversation continued for a bit longer and all of it was very positive. She said that should it ever come to that, she would not see me in pain and that she would respect my wishes NOW THAT SHE KNOWS THEM.
This is why is so important to have these discussions. If you don't tell people what YOU want, they'll try to impose on you what THEY think is right for you.
Some people wonder why did the Terri Schiavo issue come to this? My answer is, so that those of us who can, learn from her mistake and prepare for the worse so that should the worse happen our voice regarding our life is noted thereby leaving no room for petty family feuds or death by starvation.