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Terry Teachout: The Long Goodbye (Complete)

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TT: The long goodbye (complete)



For those who asked, you can now read all three parts of "The Long Goodbye" in a single file by clicking on the link.

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Sooner or later, the approach of death imposes an iron economy of illusion. The euphemisms that once sustained you start to cloy, and at length a time comes when you can no longer bear to speak or hear them. I saw it happen to a friend of mine who was dying by inches of a degenerative disease. One day he told me that he could no longer stand the company of optimists who urged him to "think positive." He knew he was dying and that the end would be terrible, and his only comfort, such as it was, came from being able to talk about it honestly with those of his friends who were willing to hear him do so. Not many were.


I remembered that conversation when the bottom fell out of my mother's life last December. She, too, was dying by inches, but none of us, including her, had been ready to face the truth until she was assaulted by pain of the most savage and unrelenting kind, an agony to which all normal remedies were unequal. Then, on the night after Christmas, she looked at me and said, matter-of-factly, "I think I'm going to die."


I replied, half stupidly and half practically, "Do you mean eventually, or now?"

"Now," she said.




Read the whole thing and have a box of tissues handy.


H/T The Anchoress

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