A reflection on a mother’s life, and how advancements in medicine have extended our life expectancy, and have made it more difficult for us to die:

ME: ‘Maybe you could outline the steps you think we might take.’

DOCTOR: ‘Wait and see.’


DOCTOR: ‘Change the drugs we’re using.’

MY SISTER: ‘Can we at least try to get a physical therapist, someone who can work her legs, at least. I mean … if she does improve, she’s left without being able to walk.’

NEUROLOGIST: ‘They’ll have to see if she’s a candidate.’

ME: ‘So … okay … where can you reasonably see this ending up?’

NEUROLOGIST: ‘We can help you look at the options.’

ME: ‘The options?’

SOCIAL WORKER (to my sister): ‘Where she might live. We can go over several possibilities.’

ME: ‘Live?’

“A Life Worth Ending.” — Michael Wolff, New York magazine

More from Wolff