Are We Living Too Long?

My grandfather was 93 years of age when he was struck down and killed instantly by a car while crossing the street at night in front of his house. He had lived independently for years after my grandmother passed away. He was never sick a day in his life and continued to have all of his faculties. He allegedly had been playing “crokinole” with a little old lady across the street, just before the accident. 

When I tell this story, most people react by saying “ Oh, how sad!” My response over the years has consistently been the same, “I think we all wish we could be so lucky.”  

My wife recently returned from visiting my mother-in-law who has an advanced form of dementia and who resides in a dementia unit in an adult seniors care facility. Apart from her mental state, and being wheelchair bound, she is otherwise in good health. She is currently the same age as my grandfather, when he passed away. After a particularly frustrating visit, my wife remarked, “I think she has lived too long”.  She was not being disingenuous but rather it was a thoughtful statement made by someone who is as committed, understanding, loving, caring and compassionate as any daughter could be in the circumstances. 

At first blush, I was taken aback and somewhat surprised by the remark, as my wife loves her mother dearly. Upon reflection, however, I decided to explore the context of that statement more closely and what follows is the result of that enquiry, which some may find provocative. 

For others, I hope it is at least informative and offers some food for thought!READ ON

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