My mother has been urging me to produce offspring ever since I finished school.

My neighbor Mr. Lewis had a lot of offspring. He had a wife and 5 kids and maybe a dozen grandchildren. Three generations of loved ones were at his hospital bedside when he passed away after a long battle with lung cancer.

He didn’t know it, though. He had been unconscious for several weeks, connected to a respirator and an IV drip. The prior months had been a gradual transition into death as he lost control of his faculties one at a time.

When Mr. Lewis could no longer swallow food, he refused a feeding tube. He begged his daughter to let him die. “You’ll feel better soon,” she lied.

Then he had a stroke and could no longer speak for himself. His family had the doctors insert the tube. It kept him alive for many more months.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” my mother asks.

Medicare and Social Security will take care of me.

Then I think about my cat. I loved my cat. I took it to the vet whenever anything was wrong, and got it the best insurance for cats that it needed. And in the end – when it was getting older, it just ran away from our house. Later, I knew, to die – a more dignified death than most of us ever get to.

So when I’m ready to die, I will crawl off into the woods and quietly disappear, just like my cat did.


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