It's a good question, and I hear it almost every time that I tell people what I'm up to. It's not everybody that asks, which lets me see that I'm not the only one who's looking at end-of-life issues. In fact, I know there are people working through related issues; one of my best friends hosts the Montreal franchise of Death Cafe.
So, "why am I doing this?"
It's simple, really, but it's not exactly culturally acceptable.
My motivation mainly comes from the experiences of loss, estrangement, and deep troubled loneliness I've experienced through the course of my life. And, yes, you're right, that's not a satisfying answer, considering that if you know me, you can see that I'm living life with elan and joy. That wasn't always the case; and it might not always remain to be so.
My grandfather lived with us while I was a kid. My folks are from the Mediterranean. Immigrants to Canada, they managed to establish themselves with a decent house and raised two of us without going into crazy debt. We lived simple lives. My grandfather, unfortunately, suffered a paralyzing stroke two years after I was born. When I knew him, he couldn't walk, talk, shave or bathe himself. Luckily, my ma kept him in our house the rest of his life. Apart from the lack of mobility and vocalization, he stayed healthy until he died in his bed one day. I don't know how much he suffered from his disabilities, I just remember him saving my ass from whippings with his flailing hands and his grunting admonitions to my mum. Lucky me. Lucky him.
My uncle died a couple of years ago. He never mastered the French language. He died in Quebec, where the centuries-old battle between the French and the English has finally been won, through subtle means, these past few years, by the French. With some sledgehammer, anti-constitutional laws enacted forty years ago, they set the foundation for the unnoticeable atrocities that are being perpetrated against the English minority in Montreal. As an example: recently one of the local libraries moved the English books to a location that's kind of inaccessible, and rude:
They have two bookcases near the front desk dedicated to newly purchased books. At least as early as the third week in February, 2016, they relegated the new English acquisitions to the lowest shelves on the left bookcase - with a complete empty bookcase sitting right next to it.
I have to sit on the floor to see the titles.
They told me it was temporary. What exactly is temporary?, and why not put them in the second bookshelf (where they used to be)? Isn't temporary like a day or two?, it's been at least a week already.
Only the books with blue dots are English. They're literally forcing me to my knees.
I'm working with the city councilors on this, and possibly filing formal complaints with the federal government to help stop this type of insidious effrontery.
Getting back to my uncle...