Today (Sunday the 21st) was quite fun.

Woke up at 9:30, wanted to go to Costco right away to buy food that was going to be consumed in about 8 hours, but I couldn’t because my parents (read: mom) are super slow when it comes to things that aren’t theirs.

This Christmas party with my friends falls pretty snugly under ‘not related to them’.

So yeah, we leave the house at 11:05, even though I told them to arrive between 12-1pm. No worries.

Some people arrived before I even got home, that was kind of awkward. Oh well, no harm done. The rest arrived quite soon afterwards.

They all came in pairs.

But that’s all I need to say about today. Other than the fact that apparently they expected me to cook dinner (read: NO), things were pretty smooth. Nothing dumb came up, which is usually the case. Still should’ve taken a group picture. It’s only starting to be slightly relevant to me now, but taking pictures of people most of the time will be superior to my pictures of scenery and events. Scenery shows you the world. Pictures with people create their own world. It’s not that big of a thing yet though, maybe when I’m 30.

But that’s not what I wanted to really say today.

On Friday (when I went on the final portion of the toughest journey I’ve ever done to save 10$ on Smash Bros for Wii U), I went shopping with Rene for some Pocky for Secret Santa.

In between the thrifty journey and the Pocky shopping was this 1.5 hour period where I sat in a business apartment complex called ‘Airport Square’ (in which the neon-lit letters have begun to die off) on the third floor in a law firm.

I really don’t know why I was there.

Something something power of attorney something something serious fucking shit.

Not something at 19 year old kid who is excited that he save some money and is ready to waste it on bubble tea is expecting to deal with.

A power of attorney can only be assigned to someone when they reach the age of 19 – something I have reached.

My parents had requested our ex-lawyer friend to write up a Power of Attorney (PoA) for us. I heard it was about $500~ and he isn’t even a lawyer currently in which he charges more (the rate I don’t know).

So this had to be some serious business that I was about to walk into.

I still perceived it as nothing huge until the lawyer finally sat down (after 50 minutes of waiting!) and began to describe the terms and conditions in the article.

‘…will be in effect unless you happen to pass away…’

Hmn.

That’s not really what I expected.

There is some mental weight when it involves what seems to be the rest of your life, or in this case  – my parent’s life.

This PoA was designating me the rights to make decisions involving my parents, all of which in their best interest, when they are themselves incapable of making decisions (they don’t mention if it’s rational or not). To me, it was just a legal way of saying “Hey, it’s your job to finish the book when we can’t write anymore.’ I was right – to a degree. It was more of a ‘It’s your job to finish our book when we can’t write anymore’ which was a huge difference, at least for me.

Maybe in 30 years, when I’m peaking 50 and my parents are in their early 80s or even before then, they’re contract some disease that renders then incapable of making a decision. If it’s only one, then the other parent can still take charge (my understanding is that they have priority to me, but I’m not clear on it, I just signed), but if it’s both then that ball gets passed to me. I’ll be the one taking the shot.

My mom joked (and so did my dad, which was slightly surprising) that depending on my mood and the memories I remember that day, thousands of dollars and two lives could be traded.

Not much of an amusing joke.

That’s some serious moral shit there. On a whim lives are taken away. I couldn’t really say or think much against it. When I’m 50, I’ll hopefully be where they are now: children, employed, and with property (not sure how Vancouver’s going to handle that one). My memories of my parents will be their (probable) constant badgering and disapproval of my actions. Generation gaps causes differences in thinking, values and goals which makes it inevitable I wouldn’t make the same decisions they would have living in their year at the same age. This just means there’s going to be some not-so-pleasant recent memories of my parents when it becomes time. Maybe that night I pull out the memory of their refusal to understand my immigration to another country (just throwing this idea out there), or the berating and disapproving signs of my academic grades. And then two lives were nullified. Perhaps that night I remember my first Christmas in Canada, or how they would help me take care of the newborn children (this one’s probably a more likely situation). And then the live a little longer.

If it was really terminal of course the better decision here is to just try to make their passing as comfortable as possible. But that can’t always be the case. Just look to China’s hospitals for this. There are many cases where a doctor in China will get a terminally ill patient with few months to live. Thinking that it is in the patients best interest to enjoy what they have left, they might prescribe a healthy amount of freedom from the hospital. But would that make you, the patient (or family member) happy? The doctor walks in to tell you that there’s no real chance and that you should just leave and spend your money doing other things. Are you going to just give up based on their advice? Maybe you get a second opinion who says the same thing, are you going to be happy with this answer?

Some people might. They place themselves in the doctor’s shoe and realize that they’re doing the best for the patient. But some won’t. They will be upset that the doctor seems to not really care for the patient and their hopes of life. Terminal illness is terminal for a reason, but everyone has the belief that there might be that slim 0.001% chance of beating it, and they would bet on it. Which is why most Chinese patients find it tough accepting the considerate doctor’s approach. If the doctor had just gone and prescribed some expensive medicine and said that it was very likely to be terminal, the patient would take the medicine to be some care and understanding of their own needs by the doctor. Also, by prescribing the medicine, the doctor’s hospital prospers from the sale. If surgery is also recommended (the patient takes this as the doctor caring for the patient and going the extra mile to appoint precious time away from the surgeons), the surgeon is grateful for your assistance in helping them make more money, and the patient is happier. In that world, doing what seems to be the right thing becomes the wrong thing.

Which makes the decision of life or death so much harder, especially when it is not even your own life, but another’s. It’s hard to be able to take the troubles of another onto yourself, especially when the illness makes them unable of making decisions, as you begin to wonder what would be the benefit of allowing life. Of course it is an honor to have someone believe that you will make the proper decision, but right now I can’t take this is with any positive twist. I can’t feel much but depressing idea and wondering thoughts.

Somewhere in here are my mixed feelings with the signing of the PoA. Somewhere in all this mess of a coherent thought are the frightening things and the lighthearted tragic events, the joyous bonds and the hopeful future and reality. Though that somewhere might not even be written in words.

Now if you excuse me I have to try and place my efforts in something happier. At least for this moment.

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