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What The Golden Girls Reboot Is Teaching Me About Assisted-Ending For My Parents
OPINION 10/06/2039 11:40 PM ET
What The Golden Girls Reboot Is Teaching Me About Assisted-Ending For My Parents

Ella Key Smith
Mom, daughter, Kaley's Law advocate

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license grandma's hands by Jessie Jacobson | Writer image: CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license Christina by Claus Rebler | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
I love my Mom and Dad, and now I have to learn to love them enough to end their suffering.
The finale of season one of the Golden Girls reboot aired Wednesday. Rose and Blanche went across town to find Blanche a man, and Dorothy and her Mom Sophia patched things up.

And the season ends as sitcom seasons should: with a big group hug.

The Golden Girls brought home to me what family, and friendship should be all about: loyal devotion, love, honesty and trust. Respect.

But it kicked up in me all sorts of emotions because I am dealing with the very confronting issue of geriatric health in my parents. They are both in their sixties, and both have serious health issues. My father has multiple sclerosis and dementia. My mother gets constant migraines and suffers depression.

I am thankful the Golden Girls touched on these issues of age. Episode three touched on Rose's concern with dementia (she's just forgetful) while Sophia has to battle the possibility of cancer in episode eight. And in between, there are the expected troubles with growing old gracefully (Depends, anyone?).

I loved the strong, dignified way Sophia handled herself during her cancer screening, offering pointed advice and comfort to her scared daughter. And Rose's bubbly worries about her mental health as Blanche fumbled her way to rejection with the neurosurgeon. Strong women.

But we can't always be strong. My parents feel things are hopeless.

A week ago I submitted an application for An Authority to Pursue Assisted-Ending on the Illinois Department of Public Health website. I have been registered as their legal carer for years.

The application was corroborated with doctors' reports on each medical issue they face. The website states my parents must be suffering ailments equivalent to 100 points, before any authority can be granted. They easily passed.

I now have the documented authority to pursue assisted-ending for my parents.

One of the things I learned from the Golden Girls is that sometimes it's not going to be alright. Because it's a sitcom and because it's end-to-end laughs, each episode's tidily-wrapped up ending only reinforces that life is not like that.

Sometimes it's hard.

I have not spoken to my parents about it - the law does not require me to - and I hope there will be no unpleasantness. I want only what's best for them, and to see them out of their misery.

The patch or injection the doctor administers will be painless and my parents will be out of their misery within twenty seconds. There will be no more laughter but no more tears. No more audience applause, and one last fade to black.

Hopefully there'll be a group hug.
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