“On Tuesday I’ll finally end my battle with cancer thanks to Oregon’s Death with dignity act. As part of my preparations I’ve ended my pain medication and am trying to regain what little dignity and clarity I can. Who I was doesn’t matter. I’m in pain, I’m tired and I’m finally being granted a small shred of respect. Feel free to AMA if you’re so inclined.” – Lucidending
These words were written on Saturday, March 5th, about 13 hours ago (and counting) on one of Reddit’s subreddit streams. This man has been battling cancer for eight years. Thanks to a law in Oregon that allows medically assisted deaths to terminally ill patients, the man is finally being allowed to end his pain. Normally, I must imagine that these occurrences are quite personal, but with 51 hours to live (as of today, this man is still alive), he decided to create a Reddit account – “Lucidending” – and broadcast the words quoted above to this social community”.
The incredible response to his statement can be seen here: “51 Hours Left To Live“. The post has skyrocketed to the top of Reddit’s list of highest voted threads of all time (up and down votes combined), at almost 38,000 unique votes. His comment count has crested 8,000 and it keeps growing. If you log into Reddit, you can comment too. People from all over the world are posting thoughts, feelings and questions to Lucidending, who is responding to as many as he can from where he sits in his Oregon hospital bed. He’s unable to go anywhere, but (in his own words) the past 13 hours have allowed him to live and “see” the world in ways he never imagined were possible. His only regrets? Not proposing to his high school sweetheart, and never traveling to see the Northern Lights.
The power and reach of social media has delivered the world to this man’s hospital bed the only way it can: Through the online sharing of words, pictures, videos, and community support. People from different cultures and religious background around the world are coming together with words of hope, thanks, and amazement. Cancer charities are receiving donations because of his post. Art projects have been uploaded to the thread depicting Lucidending’s last words. Lucidending’s advice is giving other Redditors the inspiration to simply go outside and enjoy the quiet falling snow, or the rising sun.
For this man, social media is making his last hours on earth a time of interacting with others, a time to share his wisdom and feel loved. I really urge you to check it out. It will move you.
UPDATE: I just found a YouTube video dedicated to Lucidending. It’s short, fun and happy and totally beautiful: