good night, sir and lady downes.
from the many passing news and notices of the world, i have found a very particular report intriguing and significant. about death of certain individuals who i have never met or seen. someone who is rather far, but somehow ended up being not too far from monkey in the grand sense of the world- esp. when you take the consideration of how many people are actually living and breathing in this world: According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the World, projected to 07/15/09 at 05:11 GMT (EST+5) is 6,771,165,967.
so then why does this particular death, which really should as significant as any other generic birth strike such a note? well. because it was a choice. and because it was not just a death, but of two persons.
sir ted downes, a british conductor at age of 85 took hand of his wife, joan downes at age of 74 with terminal illness, and went into the land of the truly unknown at the iconic swiss euthanasia clinic, dignitas. with over half of a century of companionship, they have chosen to withdraw. together.
i first encountered this news through mr. salamander. ironically he pointed out that bbc phil is currently on the move to salford, and it was maestro ted who occupied the newly painted space of studio 7 when bbc phil moved into the new building back in the 80s. and that it was maestro ted who led the bbc phil during the years 1980-1991, i suppose the early days of mr. salamander at the phil.
like closing of a chapter. not only there is the physical aspect of moving, but also physical aspect of closure. the final closure of this common chapter known as life. and monkey found this news rather- provoking at this point. as monkey's also passing by some remarkable points of her life, regarding many different aspects- personal, professional, inter/intra personal, whatevers inbetween. significantly smaller closures i suppose, in comparison to death. still. big enough closures for monkeyself.
there has been many points in monkey's life where she wanted to opt out, nice, short, concise decision- perhaps not too wise, nonetheless, true feelings at the time. and for some reason or other, those attempts never really materialized to success. there are many points of small damages, however, never up to the point where monkey is dead or forgetful. and i think at this point in my life, things are actually quite pleasant and beautiful.
now you may argue that this is all because monkey stuck it out and only after suffering one can appreciate the 'compensation' or 'earned break,' or whatever else term you may fancy. but really, if there was no grit, would monkey be able to appreciate the finer beauties of life today? am not so sure. but it's also a useless argument as there is nothing i could do to change the past. just like the cutting marks. they dont disappear quickly. some of them older than most of my friends' child(ren). i can see the ones that are really old. fading. slowly. human skin is produced on constant basis, a human body is practically renewed every seven years (well, mostly, as some tissues wont regenerate itself), and we all know that though scars remain, they do fade, even colloids.
so really. at times i do feel quite attached to my scars. they may not be the most generally appealing part of myself, however, am quite fond of the history they carry. why? because it happens to be my own identity. a big chunk of it.
and im just thirty years old now. i cannot imagine what it would be like to have a partner for over half a century. there is no way to guess such feelings. i know what it feels like to have that feeling of simpatico, or just being understood, rarely accepted as who i am, and even more rare, loved as a person, nothing less or more. the intensity of such feelings may be somewhat comparative, however, the durations not even close. half a century is a long time.
they went together. made all the appropriate arrangements. had the resources to pull the whole plan together and execute it. hands in hands, as their children said.
i am envious, slightly. and am also deeply afraid that i may never be able to make such choice myself. afraid- fear factor- not because i am afraid of dying, but because i may be the one who is left behind. it's pathetic however genuine. if i have been in such a strong bond with another individual, would i be really strong enough to be able to withstand such loss? individual comes from the expression indivisible: no longer divisible, a single, smallest, solitary entity.
when one enters into a relation with another, one is no longer completely free, hence, no longer is an individual. ideally, one would retain all characteristics/ preferences prior to the engagement, and instead of yielding without reason, one would be in a continuous process of exchanges and considerations- for oneself as well as the other who is involved. the world still will recognize the individualistic parts of the union, though the union itself may now be Incorporated to build a new identity of the 'related' parties. a simple case of one plus one is not a simple two, but something else.
so when the end of the union is near- in this case, after unusually long period of time (well, that is probably more applicable to my generation rather than the older generation, but still), i think there would naturally be a question about the resolution of the relationship. such as the one ted and lady downes had to face.
fortunately they were able to make such choices without compromises regarding legality or financial/emotional resources. and they made a choice which i think is reasonable and logical, if not universally supported. i think it's perfectly fine that it is a rather hot topic. it's a big decision. it's a common situation- though the ending of a union may be in a slightly lighter situation: ie. a breakup, divorce, separation, etc. and everyone will take it differently. with all their reasons and contexts. but ultimately, if we were to draw a simple survey, it will be something like: do you support or do you not? or do you decline to answer?
one of the three. you check it off on square box of some sort. and cast your vote.
this story is right now being stuck on my mind, like hot melted plastic. searing hot, but since it's not solid, you cant exactly just peel it off from your skin, as it'll just stick to another part of you. more effort to get it off, the more pain it brings, for now anyways. like mortar bombs. i keep thinking about it on and off the day. and if i were to check the boxes, i think i would prob check:
(X)i support sir and lady downes' decision of simultaneous euthanasia
would i do the same? i cannot say for sure, but as an ideal situation, i probably would. though i would be a bit of a coward and would hope to go a bit earlier than my companion. a nicer thing to do would be to go together, or go a little behind. but i am a coward- i am not too sure if i would be strong enough to be able to stand and be the one to put the final period of the last sentence of such chapter. i would like to be able to. at least that much is true.
as a person who is relatively newly enamoured with another person, i cannot imagine what it would be like to stand at a such position. i am in that stage of attraction and what i would imagine as love, and right now, the position is rather simple, easily put down in three words:
i ___ ___.
and those three words will grow (hopefully!) with this relationship and one day, i can only imagine of the relationship taking an identity of an individual entity- meaning that it's not a simple companionship of one person with another, but of something that is well-integrated and weaved together. and though i am perhaps unreasonably confident in the future direction of this particular relationship, i can only be slightly envious of downes' decisions and their consequential closure. not because i wanted to be just like downes, but because at this point, i think i am beginning to understand that there is nothing else in this world, but the human relationships that could rescue, sustain and revive a singular individual.
sir and lady downes, greetings and salutations for your last journey. the final journey. i hope that both of you still felt the warmth of the other, as the dusk fell swiftly and quietly. and i cannot imagine what feelings that you both must have shared at that point, but i certainly hope that one day, i can be so lucky that if i were to be in a similar situation be brave enough to make such a decision. to stick it through together. thick. thin. and now to. niente. i heard a bit about you as a conductor. as a leader. from the media. from your old team member. a man who understood pulse and time. of trial and performance. you must have known the importance of pulse of life. and after such a busy life, in sync with lady downes, rather than being out of sync, you took the option of abrupt but logical resolution. and i can imagine your marking for this last journey: adagio con amour. then.