Adopting a Canine and the Right to Die: Part One

By: Clay Hamilton

Part 1: Making Ghost Vows 

“I am calling to say goodbye to you, “ I explained calmly.

“If it were cancer, I would call my loved ones to say goodbye, and anyway, why should I have to hide my imminent death?” I asked without leaving room for an answer.

“Will you swear you won’t call the police? Please don’t betray my right to choose. After all, we’re Buddhists; how could we be afraid of death?”

We each have free will and the inalienable right to choose life or death. I explained my decision firmly, with a flavor or femininity, butter and, to him, an eerily convincing rational.

I wasn’t afraid anymore and I didn’t want the selected few I was inexplicably knotted with confused or at a loss to remember our last interaction. Was a phone call ideal? No. I would rather experience a conscious circle of loved ones surrounding me during my passage, like a group of friends watching smoldering coals in magic silence, knowing summer would soon bow to the decay of fall.

Bound to this time/space/pulse, is also bound by current culturally entrenched stigmas which force suicide into a dark, silent, hidden and of course, isolated corner.

We hung up. I inhaled the loving yet strained pressure that was the air, the body, the timelessness of all unname-ables; a pressure that had swallowed all the petty, frantic movement of mind and the whole world.

You were moving, chasing the next breath, feeling all real and vivid and existent, but you were actually my last moon.

All movement towards any possible vector stopped, and there was no then, now, next, before, after, until – and the spinning of the earth was hollow. All sound was vacuumed into ineffability.

I sat on my comfy red chair on the second story porch of my apartment looking out into my last moon and sky. The genius of the reptilian brain screamed the alarms of adrenaline even though my eyes had not yet informed the wizard behind them of: the glint of the street lamp against the glaze of the deep blue Cop Car (shudder at the fearful whispers! Cop Car, Cop Car, Cop Car) pulling slowly to a halt, headlights off, in front of my apartment. Gunslingers.

Every cell of my body seized, like an animal in pursuit playing dead.  My body felt solid, my head pulled (and yet was still) back towards the chair, searching for shadows to disappear into. I already knew the protocol. I already knew I was a goner… handcuffed, surveilled, and swung into the system. I already knew my free will would be disregarded, and in this most precious and dare I say sacred moment (preparing oneself for death) my dignity would be savagely raped and my sanity denied in arrogant cross glances. I didn’t know who had called them, it could have only been him or my parents. As soon as I could think, I immediately vowed to haunt that person in my afterlife once my right to death was once again liberated…

To be continued…