“Yes ma'am, that is quite correct. Your offer simply holds no interest for me.”
“That's right ma'am. I do not wish to be put down as though I were a dog. I have the right to live, you know.”
“Clearly, ma'am, I am aware of that. It is not the law on the matter that concerns me. I have the right to choose life or death? I have chosen, I would rather remain here.”
“Of course I believe you. I know you people have worked hard to make it quite painless. But pain isn't the issue, I am quite able to cope with pain. Friends, church, family, those are what give me quality of life. You do realize your proposal would take them away from me?”
“But why should I?”
“I've not lived an easy life, you know. I had to cope with a drunkard dad. I've coped with jobs lost through cut-backs, shattered dreams, and two dead children. Add on sharing the burden of having a daughter raped and trying to raise that monster's child to be an angel herself...”
“Because Madam those things couldn't drive me to suicide. In spite of every hardship I have been buttressed with love from so many wonderful people, the same people that come every day to this building. I have lived from eighteen to eighty swaddled in warm love. I don't especially care if I'm less fit than I once was. Regular bouts of flu don't even cast a shadow. Even if this disease is so terrible, my face is too creased by joyous smiles to warp into a frown. Why should I wish to escape life itself?”
“But I told you, I haven't had a bad life. A hard one at times, but I'm sure you've had your hardships too. The fact is I have endless hope in the promise of love, and I shan't give that up.”
“Look, you aren't following this, are you? I've told you about the biggest scar on my heart. But that same granddaughter is coming round this afternoon. She's a nurse you know, and if she's as kind to her patients as she is to me, she leaves Florence Nightingale far behind. Better still I'll bet my last three teeth she and her daughter, my great-granddaughter, will be round at four on the dot with a smile and a song. Jesus loves me I'll warrant. I'll sing it myself too.”
“Of course I believe that. You really don't see what makes life liveable, do you? Straight from the Bible: “these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.” It isn't a smart sky-blue suit, a car or money. Even trying to help society just doesn't do it. I'll pray that you discover that before you're in this bed. And no, I won't be put down like a dog. I've got too much to live for.”
“Please ma'am, could you leave me alone now. It's almost four o'clock.”
“Thanks ma'am...BUT DO COME BACK if you want to talk about God now. I've still enough strength in these creaky old bones to share that joy with anybody.”
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