I remember this every year because this was the day that Kathryn Clarenbach chose to die. As always, she had some good advice, even as she was leaving.
Kay Clarenbach was one of the grand dames of feminism. She was a co-founder of BOTH the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus and for 15 years chaired the Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women. She was executive director of the National Comomission for International Women's Yeaer (1977). She earned her PhD in political science at the University of Wisconsin and served as professor of governmental affairs here for decades. She helped to change state laws on sexual assault, divorce, and marital property.
As a worker on her son David's Congressional campaign, I had a couple of chances to meet Kay in the last year of her life (1920-1994). By then emphysema had taken its toll. She was having trouble getting around and had to haul an oxygen tank with her. She didn't get out much. David and his sister Sara confided that it was hard to see her so frail and limited, since she had always been a dynamic force as long as they could remember her.
Rather than let the disease control her passing, Kay took control herself. She went out at a time and in a manner of her own choosing.
And now I inveigh against the sadists of the Roman Catholic Church, the founders and heirs of the Inquisition, who, if they had their way -- and so far, they have -- would make it as difficult as possible for people like Kay Clarenbach to own their own bodies. To them, as to Torquemada, suffering is just God's will, and the screaming, writhing, bleeding, broken agonies of mortal flesh are as nothing to the purity of the eternal soul.
That these fiends, who arrogate to themselves the pious label "pro-life" (short for "proliferators"), would deny THEMSELVES a peaceful and painless death is absurd and confounding, but it is certainly their right to do so. But I scream in rage at their insistence that OTHERS must do likewise, and that we cannot have euthanasia ("good death") administered by a competent and caring physician. Instead, those who are still able to take matters into their own hands (shaky tho they may be) are at the mercy of amateurs: themselves. And best not wait too long, lest you lose the capability to act at all.
The world justly recoils in horror at Muslim fundamentalists, who fly airplanes into skyscrapers and blow themselves up in crowded marketplaces and schools. Yet these fanatics at least deal quick death.
It remains to our own domestic fanatics, the Catholics, to hold that mere death does not suffice. These torturers insist that first you must suffer.
Kay Clarenbach had 2 words for those who, like me, loathe the superstitious torturers and their misbegotten glorification of pain: March fourth!