My Friend Ellen
This picture is of me and my good friend Ellen Dutton. It was taken about eight months before she died. Ellen was a childhood neighbor and we had been close since then.
Several years ago Ellen was in an accident that left her a quadriplegic. Ellen accepted this in a way I could not believe. She was so upbeat that when I visited her I always came away with a big dose of optimism.
Of course we talked about the subject of death and suicide. She reminded me she could not commit suicide even if she wished to, as she could not move any of her extremities. She also told me that she did not want to live with artificial means and a lot of tubes.
After her accident Ellen had many infections and physical problems. Ellen told me that one time when she was quite ill the person that was executing her advance directive asked her 'do you want to die or do you want to live with the tubes?'. She started crying and said 'I want to live'. Luckily she recovered and the tubes were removed.
But a couple years after this illness she had more complications and needed tubes - including oxygen. She did not want to go on like this. She had gained some movement in her right arm and could get it to her face and was able to remove her oxygen.
I wasn't there at her death, but her other friends that were with her said she was pretty euphoric near the end. I shall be ever grateful for having this woman in her life and death.
Rip my love