By Ed Coghlan.
Long-time US Senator John McCain passed away Saturday night. The Vietnam-era hero and 2008 GOP Presidential candidate was a polarizing figure, but was an honest, direct and principled man who was not afraid to tell you what he thought was right even when it was not the right partisan thing to do which is why he is such an important figure in our recent history.
Before he died but while he was plainly at the end of his life, National Pain Reporter columnist Ellen Lenox Smith had a message for Senator McCain, which is best captured in her letter to him.
Dear Senator McCain,
As a fellow citizen also coping with a life with pain, I just wanted to share with you that I understand and applaud your decision for the direction you chose for the closure of your life. I don’t think there is a person out there that can’t see the fight you participated in to keep life alive, productive and filled with compassion towards others. Imagine what a world this would be if all, living in pain or not, took your lead and cared and acted on helping others and always working to make a difference? But that long hard fight is now beyond hope and I want you †o know that I respect you and your family’s decision to stop treatment.
I have been on the edge of death numerous times in life living with two incurable conditions. I am not sure healthy people could appreciate the freeing feeling that is brought on by making such a decision. When health issues seem to take over your life, there isn’t much left that feels is in your control. It can be frightening and overwhelming, to say the least. But to make this choice about your health is something no one can take that away from you.
I want to let you know, this is not about politics but about common humanity and compassion. You have set a living example to those of us that will be left behind to keep living life to the fullest, keep caring and acting towards kindness towards others, to not give up but to find a way to continue to have passion and purpose not matter what we are expected to cope with. And, you are demonstrating to us that when that fight is toward closure of one’s life, it is ok to let go and have that one last decision as to how you write the end of your story.
May your last moments here be as pain free as possible and surrounded by your loving family and friends. And may you know in your heart that you will be remembered by many and thanked by many for the example you have provided for us on of how to live life no matter what suffering and hardships are thrown your way.
Thank you for all you have done,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.
Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website. https://ellenandstuartsmith.squarespace.com/