It’s been a year and three months since Joe was beaten into a coma in a Middle Tennessee prison. He technically woke up from it, but he is not awake. I applied for a medical furlough a year ago. I still haven’t heard anything. I haven’t been able to make it to Nashville in months to see him. It still breaks my heart the same way it did the first month. I want him to get out of there. Or I want him to die.
I know it sounds heartless, but when I say it, I mean it with all of the mercy I have in my soul. What he has now, is no quality of life. If he was here, at home, I could go see him and talk to him daily. Maybe then he would start to snap out of it. But it’s hard for me to take a 3-hour drive just to see him for 1 hour and then cry the three hours home. I’d rather just cry one more time for the both of us and say goodbye. I want him to be in a better place.
And I would do that for anybody that I love. Including my kids. And I would want them to do the same for me. If I were in an accident that left me a vegetable, I would be ok with prayer and hope for a year, but if it didn’t work by then, I would want to be killed humanely. Not by starvation. I think that is the cruelest way to let someone go that you love. Maybe just a quiet syringe full of air in my vein. Something quick and painless.
Assisted Suicide. Mercy killing. Call it what you want, but the same way a dog is chained to a tree his whole life is the same way someone who is chained inside their own body should be put to sleep. I would just want to rest.
I know it’s a harsh truth. And I know there are people who have to make that choice daily. And I know it is not an easy choice, but at least those people have a choice. There is nobody to make that choice for Joe, because he is stuck in a system that only gives a fuck about the bottom line. He is stuck in a system that is only providing enough care to keep him alive. They are not required to provide quality of care, just quantity of care.
And the sad thing is, the same goes for his brother who is alive in the same prison Joe was beaten at. He’s missing half of his lower intestine from a different prison beating. He’s on daily blood thinners and other meds. And when they moved him to that prison a few weeks ago, barefoot, they withheld his medicine for three weeks. And nobody cared. It didn’t matter how many grievances he filed. Nobody gave a shit. I sometimes pray for him to die too. Because his life is miserable and I’d rather be dead than live a life where I was stuck. Somehow he wakes up every day and decides not to hang himself, or some other thing that he could do in prison to make it quick and painless. But I’m sure he’s only alive because he’s waiting on Joe. Waiting for him to die or waiting for him to get sent out here. That will be the deciding factor in his fate. He lives for his big brother. He always has. That’s why they are both in prison. He didn’t want to be out here alone. He wanted his brother. Because you can “live together” in prison if you are related. Until you do something stupid to get sent to maximum security.
I don’t know if I feel selfish or unselfish for feeling the way I do. Of course, I would be heartbroken if Joe died. I’ve loved him for so long. But I’m heartbroken now knowing that he dies over and over again daily.
What kind of life is being bedridden? What kind of life is being tube fed? What kind of life is it not being able to scratch an itch on your face? And unless I make the drive, I can’t even get an update. The system is flawed. The system is fucked. And people just disappear there, never to be thought about again.