Henry's Death Notice
The box came today. It was two feet across, four feet down and about eight inches thick. Henry looked at the box and understood that it was confirmation that he was ready to go. His life was all wrapped up in a box, and all he had to do was open it and follow the directions. Henry spent the last year getting ready. He filed the write papers, did the mandatory counseling and made the arrangements. Part of that is to make amends with everyone in your life. He spoke to his friends from high school and those from college. He spoke to the girl whose heart he broke and the girl that broke his heart. Stacy left him for a boy that left her back in the eleventh grade. She wanted him to stay while Nancy the girl he left before going to college wished him well and hung up. He spoke to everyone and did everything required. As far as the government was concerned, they didn’t care as long as you paid what you owed to them and your creditors. Suicide was legal if you paid off your debts.
His only regret was his brother Tim. With their parents’ death, he was the last family member around, and he would be the last of their line. Tim tried to fight him on the way to this day. About six years ago a wave of libertarian politicians took over Washington making many things legal from drugs to suicide. To be allowed to die a person had to petition the court, undergo physiological evaluations, have their credit checked and had no debt. Henry was diagnosed with a rare form of Glioblastoma a brain cancer that was going to kill him. Their father died from similar cancer, and Henry didn’t want to end the same way. With a note from three doctors and the written accounts of his fathers last days, Henry spoke to the court. He left with a yes but. He could do it, but he had to prove he did all the steps. They said, “when we are satisfied you are ready we will send the state approved method in the mail.”
Opening the Box
Using a knife, Henry opened the box. Inside was a legal-size document accounting every step he did to get up to this point. On the final page were the signatures of the secretary of human services, his doctor and the president of the United States. Legal suicide was rare, and it was also a key part of the new president’s platform. The document was essentially Henry’s death warrant with himself acting as the executioner. To the right of the document was a special identification Henry was required to have on him when he died. The ID would stay with the body until the mortuary took possession. In a smaller box was a tube of pills. The pills would end his life.
Henry looked around his house. He had given most of his possessions away. About two days after he went, his brother would take possession of the house. Tim lived in Florida and would most likely sell the house, and at the current rate, he would do well. The living room was empty of everything except a blanket and a standing light. Henry wanted to die on the floor in his house. Many of those that did this process did it in a hospital or someplace where they could be at peace, but after a man was revived against his will in a hospital, Henry knew he wanted to do it his way. The final piece in the box was a card with a number to call after you take the pills as well as a number in case you change your mind after taking the pills.
The Night Before
The night before would be the last night he ever saw his brother Tim. He came over, and the two drank beers and smoked pot talking about old times and what was about to happen. Henry could see the fresh tracks on his brother’s arm. Heroin was legal as was every other drug. Tim was a recovering addict when all drugs became legal now it was a race to see who would die first, Henry or Tim. The night ended with Tim yelling about never giving up and Henry saying, “look at yourself. You gave up a long time before I did. Stop blaming others and get yourself right because no one will do it for you.” Henry tried to call Tim, but he didn’t answer. He left a message, “I can understand you being upset, but I want to go out the way that I lived on my terms, not like dad. When I go, you will be alone, and I hope you can take the time and get help. Please don’t use me as an excuse to kill yourself with drugs. I love you and I always will even in death. I just hope you can one day love yourself.”
Here to the End
Henry hit a button and an air mattress inflated. The special ID was on an elastic band that went around the head. He fixed the ID so it would show on the forehead. His backdoor opened, and Tim walked in. He had a bottle of moonshine and a six pack of ginger beer. Without a word he gave the booze to Henry and took a bottle of the nonalcoholic beer for himself. Tim sat down on the floor near the mattress and took a drink. He said, “I’m here to the end bro.” Henry took a hit off the bottle then he took the pills. He finished the pills with another hit of the moonshine. Henry gave the card to Tim and asked him to call the number after he fell asleep. Henry had used a sharpie to mark out the rescue number. Henry laid back and stared at the dark ceiling listening to his brother breath and wondering if he would hear his own breath stop. His last memory was hearing his brother call 911 trying to get help not knowing that they knew not to come.