End Of The Road – All Paths Considered (Op-Ed)

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by Thomas Antkow [Special to The Tennessee Conservative] –

Unexpected, anticipated, deliberate, accidental, inevitable, or planned. Whichever way we choose to define the key to unlock death’s door the result is the same. The end of life as we know it. Whether by choice, design, or happenstance to fight the battle. Death is always the victor.

How we choose to deal with it is what defines us. For many the weight of death and the grief or guilt that follows creates extremely heavy burdens to bear. For some, numbness and sometimes denial appear stronger than the pain.

As I grow older, and the inevitability of my own demise draws nearer to reality, I have begun to reconsider my personal view on living. The recent choice to euthanize my beloved rescue dog Buttons has brought me to the realization that there have been rare moments in my life where I was a key decision maker in choosing between life or death for others. Death is inevitable. The end usually anticipated. A decision to be a participant must be calculated and deliberate. Certainly, based on your personal beliefs. Prayerful.

New Creations Construction

My first brush with reality began during high school with the death of an acquaintance following a motorcycle crash. Accidental? Preventable? As an adolescent my feelings of grief were fleeting. A cascade of losses quickly followed during my teens and early adulthood.

Friends serving in Vietnam. Close relatives. Cousins near and far. Unborn babies. Uncles, aunts then parents. Most losses were a blur and seemed to race past me with lightning speed. My emotion for the most part was held in check. My guess. Self-preservation.

The train remained on the tracks and rumbled along for years. My life wasn’t derailed until the death of my only child and her unborn baby. Melissa was only twenty-three and four months pregnant. Her circumstances were certainly unexpected. The cause was “accidental”. I do not believe that most things that occur in life are an accident. The outcome for her survival was inevitable. Bleak. A deliberate decision on her life had to be made. Pray for an uncertain recovery or remove life sustaining machines. Even though as her father my choices had no weight with the doctors, I offered my advice. Her soon to be ex-husband chose the latter. He also declined organ donation. Both decisions that I regret to this day. The unborn grandchild. Medically aborted through what the doctors defined as an “Emergency D & C.  “Abortion” is defined as: (with help), “the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy” or (without): “the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus by natural causes before it is able to survive independently”. Sounds a lot like death to me.

The considerable heartbreaking decision of “euthanasia” for our adopted child and beloved companion Buttons, was one of the most difficult of my adult life. The first six years of her existence was spent forcibly being bred to produce puppies while confined in a metal cage at a puppy mill located in the back woods of Missouri. Miserable existence for helpless animals. Horribly run by greedy individuals and supported by unscrupulous pet shop owners. They should all be damned to the eternal flames of HELL.

Thankfully we rescued Buttons and gave her a forever home for the past six years. Because of her past abuse and lack of care her eventual early demise was inevitable. Now about the decision. Extend her painful life for our benefit or have help ending it because it no longer held “quality” for her. Sending her pain free, peacefully running to cross the “rainbow bridge”. We made the agonizing choice. Others will carry out our decision. Resting at home in a safe environment and surrounded with love. Grief and sadness and self-doubt will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

Whether unexpected, anticipated, deliberate, accidental, inevitable, or planned. The end result is still the same. Death always prevails.

THOMAS ANTKOW is currently a freelance writer and produced and hosted his own daily radio show on KCSF AM 1300 and co-hosted talk shows for KVOR AM 740 for Cumulus Broadcasting in Colorado Springs.  He can be reached at taradio863@gmail.com.  You can subscribe to Tom’s FREE newsletter at:  Antkow.substack.com

For more information about nationwide animal rescue efforts visit: National Mill Dog Rescue – Colorado Springs Dog Adoption (nmdr.org)

One thought on “End Of The Road – All Paths Considered (Op-Ed)

  • March 21, 2023 at 5:53 am

    No words. Only tears.


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