248 — Dad Died By Euthanasia
CHRIS [00:00:05] Hello to everybody who’s ever had a dog fall in love with them. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour, one phone call, no names, no holds barred.
THEME MUSIC [00:00:13] I’d rather go one on one, I think it’ll be more fun, then I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
CHRIS [00:00:28] Hi everybody, Chris Gethard here, and welcome to the first episode of Beautiful Anonymous of 2021. Doesn’t that feel good to say, 2020’s over. And I know not all the problems are over. I know none of the problems are over really. But mentally, doesn’t it just feel good to be out of 2020, ooh I’m psyched. And I look forward in the coming months as things calm down to not having to mention the grim times on every single episode of the show. And I also, let me say this before as we kick off the new year. Thank you to everybody who’s been demonstrating. There’s been this upswell of vocal enthusiasm surrounding the show in the past few weeks. It’s been really cool to see I have been seeing tons of tweets and Instagram tags and all of a sudden people are really getting vocal again about their love of the show. And it means a lot. Thank you so much. And I’ll tell you what, it’s had an effect. We showed up in The New York Times, baby, how about that? The New York Times put out a list of the most comforting podcasts during the current state of the world. And Beautiful Anonymous number one on that list, good old Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People in The New York Times. That’s always good to be on a list, let alone in a publication of record. That’s really cool. Thank you all for being the people who let the world know about the show and make things like that happen sincerely. That’s got more to do with you and your enthusiasm than it does with me and I mean that. OK, this week’s episode, we recorded this one a while back and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. It is. It’s it’s it’s a really thoughtful call about what historically has been a very divisive topic. First thing I think we’re all going to say is this caller does a remarkable job of just explaining the facts of what happened and the emotions of what happened. Her father opted to leave the world on his own terms and she had to come to grips with that, figure out if it was appropriate to help figure out how to help, if so, how to be there, how to experience it. And man it’s an emotional head spin of a call and like I said, it’s a topic that my whole life has been pretty hotly debated and to hear about someone who was side by side with someone who chose this avenue, it’s I don’t even know what to say about it, except that it was it was really, really got my brain turned in a whole bunch of different directions. I can’t wait to see your feedback in the Facebook group, and I hope you get something out of the call.
PHONE ROBOT [00:03:18] Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous, a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host [BEEP]
CALLER [00:03:26] Hello.
CHRIS [00:03:26] Hello.
CALLER [00:03:30] Hi is this Chris?
CHRIS [00:03:31] It is, it is. Hello.
CALLER [00:03:34] Hi, Chris, how are you doing?
CHRIS [00:03:37] I’m I’m I’m doing pretty good. I’m doing pretty good. Yeah, I think that’s the quick and simple answer is pretty good. How about you.
CALLER [00:03:49] OK, well, that I’m actually doing great. I’m super excited to be talking to you on the phone right now.
CHRIS [00:03:54] I’m excited to be talking to you on the phone.
CALLER [00:03:56] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:03:59] So what’s up?
CALLER [00:04:01] Well, I thought, you know, I’m an I’m a newcomer to the show. I kind of I tried to binge as much as I could just last week. And I just kind of felt like I had I had some stuff that maybe your callers might want to want to want to listen to.
CHRIS [00:04:15] I love that. Welcome to the community. I like that. I like the new people are finding it after four years. It’s pretty cool. And I’m glad we just got an entire back catalog out there for you. That’s nice.
CALLER [00:04:28] Yeah like, I, I don’t, I live in South America, so I’m new to podcasts. I only started listening to podcasts about a year ago.
CHRIS [00:04:37] Oh very cool.
CALLER [00:04:39] Yeah. So so I just came across your podcast. I was looking for a new one and I came across it and I started listening to some of the episodes and I just it’s just fun to listen to because I found it just it’s just like I love talking to people. I wish I had your job, actually.
CHRIS [00:04:56] Well, I’m glad I get to have it. Let me just ask you quick, quick aside. Would you say the fact that there’s so many of them available right now is part of why you got sucked into it?
CALLER [00:05:10] Well, let’s see probably what my first I do a lot of of walks in the morning, like I walked for an hour every day and I need stuff to listen to.
CHRIS [00:05:18] Yeah.
CALLER [00:05:18] And then once in a while, you know, I just, I just and so I started asking some of the younger people that I hang out with, you know, what they were listening to. And so that’s how I got I got hooked on podcasts. And then just I’ve been listening to some of the really real podcasts out there, just like people interviewing other people, just listening to just random conversations, which I just find fascinating because as you know, I mean, the more you dig, the more information you get from people that is just incredible. You know, in my job, I tend to talk to people a lot. So and I love I love digging and finding out really crazy stuff about them.
CHRIS [00:05:51] That’s awesome. Maybe some of the people in the corporate chain might hear that the availability of large back catalog does help people get invested in the show. And I mean, that’s neither here nor there anyway. That has nothing to do with you. Sorry, sorry I’m being weird. I just don’t want my stuff to go back behind the paywall. Anyway itt’s not about me, not about me. So you said you have some stuff you think our listeners might be interested in.
CALLER [00:06:16] Well, yeah. So about let’s say three years ago my dad died.
CHRIS [00:06:23] I’m sorry.
CALLER [00:06:23] And he chose to die by, well that’s OK. He chose to die by legalized euthanasia. And I thought that something that that we might talk about today just because it’s probably not something that too many people have experience with.
CHRIS [00:06:37] Wow. Yeah, that’s something that I’ve heard about for decades and all the controversy surrounding it, yeah, that is that’s quite, that’s quite a topic right there. That’s quite a topic.
CALLER [00:06:50] Yeah. But um I had a fantastic experience with it. Like, I have nothing but good things to say about it. For me, it was it was I’m really, really glad that it exists out there for people.
CHRIS [00:07:02] Wow, wow. And you said you said it was legalized euthanasia. So where where did this take place?
CALLER [00:07:08] This took place in Canada. So in Canada, it’s been legal as of June 2016. And this happened in August of 2017.
CHRIS [00:07:18] Wow. So this is yeah. This is a pretty head spinning stuff, so. You said it was a fantastic experience.
CALLER [00:07:27] Maybe I should give you some backdrop to it. So I mentioned that I live I live far away. So I only I was only visiting my father once a year because that’s all the time I really had to do a long trip. And in 2016 I had visited him and I visited him on my own without my family or my husband. And he sat me down and told me that in the past year he had tried to kill himself three times and none of those three times had it worked. And and he was just really done. He was really done with his life. This was he was eighty eight when he told me this. And so, of course, for me, I was just completely floored with this information. Just a super sad about it, just thinking, wow, what a bad daughter am I to like not know that my dad had tried to do this three times and that in the year before. And so from that moment on, it was just kind of like, OK, you’ve got to put your big girl pants on and you got to support this guy because he’s been there for you this whole time. And now this is something that he really wants and and you need to support him on that. So, of course, I mean, it wasn’t like, OK, boom, everything’s positive and we’re going to go forward with this. I mean, I had to do a lot of work on myself before I got to that point with him where I was where I was OK with it, because, I mean, I knew I had a little pity party for myself. You know why is he doing this. If I’m still here, if I’m still around and able to come and visit him every year, why why doesn’t he want to live for that sort of question could come up. But in the end, it was like, OK, you know, he’s he’s alone the entire year until you come up to visit. Like, my mom had passed away a good 16 years before and my father is almost one hundred percent blind. So his his world is just a little apartment. Right. And his audio books. So so yeah. That’s sort of like the preamble to it.
CHRIS [00:09:15] Wow. So I feel like in the discussion surrounding euthanasia that I know a lot of times it’s brought up for someone who has, let’s say, like a terminal illness that they’re suffering with and they know they can’t recover from. It sounds like that was not your father’s case. It sounds like he had more his quality of life was was leading to depression, it sounded like. Is that correct?
CALLER [00:09:43] Yeah. Yeah, I think I think that’s definitely right. And that was my that was one of my biggest questions with my dad, like in that time in 2016 when he sat me down and told me how, how he’d been feeling and everything, I was like, OK Dad. So we know that there’s euthanasia available. And so we went to his doctor together, we went to his GP and his doctor was just not on board with this at all. He was just like, I don’t even want to talk about it with you guys. I don’t this is I have a feeling this might affect my my practice. So he gave us like a printout of information that he got off the Internet. He gave it to he was like, don’t come back. Like, that’s literally, he was like, I don’t want to see you again. And I was like, wow, OK. And so I sat down and I started reading through the information. And one of the things that says is that, you know, the person that wants to to do this has to be in an advanced state of irreversible decline. So as I’m reading reading this with my dad and I’m looking at them going that that doesn’t apply to you Dad. And and then it said death is in the foreseeable future. And I said that also doesn’t really apply to you Dad, you could you could live for ten more years, you know, and then he started to argue with me saying, well, you know, the fact that I tried to kill myself three times in the last year, I believe that I deserve to have a dignified death. And I couldn’t agree with him more in that sense. And I said, well, let’s let’s see let’s see what we can do with this information. So I have him contact the the people that were in charge of euthanasia in our province. And, yeah, they came back to him in 2017 after some I guess a few little things have changed. And they interview him and then they said, OK, you’re you’re eligible for this. So my dad at that point, I was back in South America and he called me and said, hey, listen, I’m eligible for the program. And he was so excited. And I’m like, what program? And he’s like the euthanasia program. And I said, OK, OK. And I’m thinking myself, OK, this is it. He’s going to tell me, like, what day this is going to happen. And I’m thinking this was like in early August and I’m thinking like he was going to tell me October or something like that. And he’s like next Thursday at 7 PM.
CHRIS [00:11:48] Wow.
CALLER [00:11:49] I think it was Friday. And so I was like, oh, OK. Like, wow, OK, you know, like we’re like not even a week. So I had to, like, just drop everything and get on a plane and go up there. And so I got up there by Monday. So I had four days with my dad before he died.
CHRIS [00:12:06] Wow.
CALLER [00:12:08] So that, for me was really precious.
CHRIS [00:12:13] Now, there’s a number. Yeah, I mean, there’s just so many things to speak about. I mean, OK, first let me talk about sort of a philosophical thing, then we’ll get into some of the personal things, because that four days sounds like it must have been just I mean. Life defining for you, I would have to imagine. But first, let me say. It brings up this really fascinating question, right, where when your dad says, look, I’m not going to live 10 more years because I’ve tried to kill myself three more times and I intend to try again if this isn’t something that’s allowed.
CALLER [00:12:54] Right.Yeah.
CHRIS [00:12:54] It’s so wild for me because I’m someone who has suffered greatly from depression. And you sit here and I’ve I’ve often said in many of us do say, you know, mental illness is just as important as your physical illness and you have to tend to them both equally. And then it brings up this thought that he was certified as having a terminal level of I don’t know if it’s mental illness or just I mean, I guess if he’s attempting suicide over and over again, is that ultimately what they said was, OK, this this person is intent on doing that. This this represents an incurable level of whatever they certified it as, and that is terminal. So we’ll move forward.
CALLER [00:13:37] I think the thing that got him into the program was his COPD, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And he had he had about a 30 percent loss of his lungs because he smoked a pipe and full life. So I think that was the thing. They were like, OK, so the fact that he’s only got 30 percent of his lungs, that means that his death is in the foreseeable future. And so that was like that was the end.
CHRIS [00:14:00] And do you get the sense that because, you know, your initial reaction was you could live ten more years, since that hasn’t been brought up before. Do you get the sense that the people involved in this conversation sincerely believed that the 30 percent of the lung issue was a driving factor, or were they were they trying to help him get where he desired to go ultimately?
CALLER [00:14:26] But I think the second I think they were trying to get him where he wanted to go, but in a legal way they found it almost like they found a loophole. I mean.
CHRIS [00:14:36] Wow.
CALLER [00:14:37] And and I’m so grateful to them, I am so grateful to them because it was like when I finally understood what my dad was going through, like he would sit me down and say. You know, like it takes me one hour in the morning to get out of bed and get my pajamas on and just to, like, get into the kitchen to, like, boil the kettle. He’s just like, I’m done with that like I’m so over that he had no friends left. He my dad was a brilliant man. And because he was blind, his only option was to get these audio books and he had to get a really good situation. He lived right beside our municipal library, which is a fantastic library. And he had this one woman that would just pick out all these different great audiobooks and he must have listened to like 20 books like every two weeks or 10 books a week or something like that. He was like, there’s no books left. Like, I’ve read everything there is to read. You know, I listen to every audiobook I’m just done. And then to be honest with you, when, when Trump came into power, he was just like, OK, that’s it, like this, the world is way too crazy. This is just like it’s insane, you know? And I, I just I pray. I pray all the time. Thank you so much that this happened because had it happened now with covid and everything. I would not have been able to get on the plane to go and see him, to be with him. You know, it it it happened at the perfect time. It really, really did.
CHRIS [00:16:00] Wow. I mean. I do just want to also say that as an American. Hearing that hearing that the state of American politics was ultimately one of the things that pushed him past the point of hope is that that is creating a pit in my stomach.
CALLER [00:16:19] Well, I mean, it’s almost like he could only take so much outrage, right? Like, that’s what I mean. I mean, I’m really sorry to anybody who’s listening that that is upset that Trump didn’t win. But I’m so looking forward to the next four years of not waking up and reading the news and being completely outraged.
CHRIS [00:16:34] Yeah.
CALLER [00:16:34] That’s how I’ve been feeling.
CHRIS [00:16:37] And look, the sad part is, is I think we’re all waiting with bated breath to see does that go away? Because I’ve said it up and down. There’s a lot of news networks. There’s a lot of online outlets that make a lot of money off our outrage. So I wonder if they’re going to let it go or if they’re going to say, oh, you know, what, our our stocks are healthier and healthier because we can get these ratings based on outrage. So I hope it goes away. But yeah, I mean, as you as you.
CALLER [00:17:05] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:17:06] To hear that your dad was an accomplished person, a brilliant person who’s just sitting blind in a room, having trouble, you know. Hearing that it takes an hour to get from getting out of bed to having a cup of tea, just consuming information, it does sound like I mean, it does sound like. I hate to say it, but you’re describing an experience where it’s almost like when I when I go to see the dentist and they go, oh, you know, we had an emergency, so you’re going to have to wait like an hour in the waiting room and I just sit there dawdling away on my phone, I feel like within an hour, within an hour or two of having to sit there and be like, oh, I’m just sitting in a room reading. I start to get bored, so.
CALLER [00:17:56] Right. Yeah.
CHRIS [00:17:57] I can see how you must have felt like he was almost in solitary confinement in a way.
CALLER [00:18:02] Yeah. And you know, and the other thing I remember the other conversation I had with him and he said, you know, I just get so angry because it cost like, what did he say it costs? He said it cost five thousand dollars a month to keep me alive like to keep me like to pay for the apartment, to pay for the food, to pay for the health care, I mean, all that kind of stuff. So and he would just it would make him so angry that he’s like, that’s five thousand dollars that I’m taking away from you. You could have that right now. And you could be using it for something. And you’re a productive person in society. He’s like, I’m not productive anymore. I don’t need to be here anymore. He was from that sort of thinking, you know, and he was like, I can’t tell you Chris, he was thrilled the day the day that he died, the day that he dies. Like, imagine for me, like it was like four days of counting down, right? I mean, who gets and who knows when when someone’s going to die except for somebody that thought their loved one on death row. Right. And there’s like, I don’t know a time for that. Like, I was thinking, who who who knows when this is going to happen. Nobody knows this stuff. Right. And so when it came down to when I woke up on the day, it was like, OK, it’s the day. Right? And it was going to be happening like at 7:30 pm or something. And so and my dad and here’s my dad and he’s like comes out having breakfast and he’s like last breakfast. And he was like clapping his hands. And then it was like, you know, he had lunch last lunch and he was so into it. And so it was kind of like, I mean I couldn’t help but also be completely thrilled for him. And I was also not going to be the one to be crying the whole day and ruining it for him. Right. So, yeah, I mean, he we helped each other that day. We never really talked about it because we had talked about everything that we needed to talk about the last three days. And we had filmed him talking about his his early days. He he grew up in Argentina. So we filmed him talking about that, about his childhood and how he hated his mom’s cooking and things like that. So we have all kinds of videos of him talking, which is great. But but yeah, when the day came, it was he was he was really cute about everything. He was just like, that’s it. Last time I had to do the dish last time I have to brush my teeth like.
CHRIS [00:20:09] He did the dishes?
CALLER [00:20:12] Well, yeah, he was he was extremely, extremely independent, like we had it set up in the apartment where he knew everything he knew, he knew all the steps from place to place. And he wanted to be able to do that stuff, like, imagine if you’re not doing anything the whole day. You know, you want, you kinda look forward to doing the dishes. It’s like, well, I got something to do.
CHRIS [00:20:29] I do get that part. And I know this is this is maybe a morbid joke to make, but on this show, I do tend to find them. I have to say, if I knew it was my last day on Earth, I would I would actually be jumping for joy to be like, I get to leave those dishes in the sink. But it sounds like he wanted to go out just saying let me have one last normal day that fits my routine and then be on my way.
CALLER [00:20:53] Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, he he was funny because he was so much older. He was also really old school. Like, you know, he’d always go to bed early sort of thing. And he was at that point his life. He was going to bed like he was retiring to bed at 4 p.m. and I said to him that day, I was like, you are not going to bed at 4 p.m. on your last day. Like you’re having the big sleep at 7:30pm you’re not. No, you’re spending you’re with us until that time sort of thing. But yeah, I had to argue with him about it.
CHRIS [00:21:24] Now, are you an only child?
CALLER [00:21:27] I am not an only child. OK, so my brother and I were adopted at birth and live with live with our parents. My brother went off the rails in the eighties. Tons and tons and tons of drugs. And did you ever see the movie Jungle Fever with Spike Lee?
CHRIS [00:21:48] Yeah.
CALLER [00:21:49] Do you remember the drug addict in that movie. I think it was Samuel Jackson.
CHRIS [00:21:53] Yes, Samuel Jackson. I do remember that performance.
CALLER [00:21:56] Yes. There you go. That’s my brother.
CHRIS [00:21:59] Wow. So you’ve lost touch and your father lost touch, I would imagine.
CALLER [00:22:03] Yeah. So that and, you know, and probably in a really good way because. So I don’t even know I don’t know I don’t even know if he would have been on board with that, like to have to argue with someone else like that for me, like when I look at this whole situation with the euthanasias, this was one hundred percent my father’s choice, like it had nothing to do with me, you know what I mean, like I’m his daughter, but, like, this is his choice.
CHRIS [00:22:32] Woof, woof, man, everybody out there that makes you think about your parents, that makes you think about your kids, that makes it think about so much. Go ahead and take a break. We’ll be right back.
[00:22:42] [AD BREAK[
CHRIS [00:22:53] Break’s over, everybody. Let’s get back to the phone call.
CALLER [00:22:59] For me, like when I look at this whole situation with the euthanasias, this was one hundred percent my father’s choice, like it had nothing to do with me. I mean, like I’m his daughter, if I like this is his choice. And I know that there are situations where where somebody wants to go. And then there’s like the children that are like putting putting a wrench in the works, saying, no, I don’t want this to happen. Like, I just don’t I don’t agree with that. And so I’m I’m glad that I didn’t have to deal with that aspect of it. If there was somebody that was going to oppose that, that that that would have been, I think, too much, you know.
CHRIS [00:23:33] Yeah.
CALLER [00:23:33] So in a lot of ways, I’m glad that that he wasn’t around. He knows. I mean, I did I did reach out to him in the way that I could, that to let him know that he had passed and everything. But he wasn’t he wasn’t part of it or any like that.
CHRIS [00:23:47] I I have to ask, and I feel like actually you’re well within your rights to go, you know what? It’s something I just like to keep between he and I. But I would have to imagine that there’s a final conversation. There’s final words that are said and, you know, they are final. Most people don’t get that.
CALLER [00:24:07] Are you talking about me and my dad.
CHRIS [00:24:08] Yeah, yeah.
CALLER [00:24:12] What were the final words. We had talked so much. And I should say that prior to that, my whole family, we had been up, we did so he died in office and we had been up for the whole month of June and part of July. So we spent six weeks up there and I had literally just come back from the trip when I got the call saying that he was admitted to the program. So we had we had spent quite a bit of time together and talked about everything. And when it was finally time, like around 6:45, my dad said, OK, so I’m like, I’m going to go get my pajamas on and I’m going to get in bed and and wait. I want you guys to go down to the lobby and wait for the doctor to come. So at that moment I went into the bedroom with him and I just gave him a very big hug and I told him how proud I was of him and I loved him. And that and those were pretty much our last words together, like in private, other than like I was with him right beside him in bed when it happened and everything holding his hand. And it was really beautiful.
CHRIS [00:25:15] So you just so I’m clear. So you went down, you met the doctor, and then you did come up and you were there. You were with him holding his hand as he passed away?
CALLER [00:25:25] Yeah. So I went down and I should point this out. So the doctor that, came up, she’s a woman doctor and she actually has M.S. and so she’s completely confined to a wheelchair now. And so she’s actually the one that pushed to get euthanasia into our Constitution in Canada because she at some point does not want to die a terrible death. You know what I mean? In her future, she wants to die when she’s ready to go because she does not want to die this horrible death from M.S, you know what I mean. So I kind of almost felt like I was in the presence of greatness with her when I met her down in the lobby and she came in to have like an electric wheelchair and everything. And I was just like, wow, like, thank you so much for all your hard work to push this forward. And then my dad was the same. He was she just could not stop holding her hand and thanking her. It was really, really, really emotional and really beautiful to see. And so anyway, so she came up, she was like, hey, can you can you put me into a separate room? I’m going to prepare all the medications. And then so we did that. And then she came into the room with my father. And of course, there’s a few legal things that they have to do like you, you have to make sure that that person she said, are you sure that this is what you want to do? And and he said yes. And then and then go forward with that. And there’s like basically six gigantic syringes. And then they just, you know, they put the IV in and they start pushing them through. So that’s kind of how it went. I don’t think that she was in my apartment in the apartment for more than thirty minutes. It was very, very efficient, I have to say.
CHRIS [00:27:02] Wow, and it’s with the actual activist that pushed it forward which must I mean, like you said, it’s meaningful for you. I have to imagine and meaningful for him. I have to imagine meaningful for her as well. And then, so do you have, do you have I mean, normally if someone passed away at home, you know, someone discovers them, calls the authorities, they send someone to the scene, the bodies removed to a morgue. Do you do you just have those people standing by?
CALLER [00:27:34] So this is what she said to me. I was kind of like. Once my dad passed, he was like, OK, that’s it and she was packing up to get ready. I’m like, wait a second, hold on a second, you know? I said, hey, so I know what I’m supposed to call the funeral home now because she’s a doctor. So she signs off on the death certificate right there. Yeah. So that you don’t need to call any you don’t need to call the authorities because basically she’s the authority. And then from there you call the funeral home. And she and I remember and I’m so thankful for this advice that she gave me. She said, listen, if you’re ready for him to be taken away now, then go ahead and call the funeral home. Because because once you call them, they’ll be there within half an hour. It might take three hours, but don’t call them until you’re actually ready for them to come. So we waited probably two or three hours and put some music on and some candles. And we hung out with my dad for a while. And then once we were ready, then we called the funeral home and and, you know, they come and take him away, which is also crazy in itself, just witnessing that. That’s just not something that I’d ever been part of before. So it was very I tried to be like stand outside myself and just be interested as like a bystander, you know, not not the emotional part of it. But yeah, I mean, I have nothing but good things to say about the entire process.
CHRIS [00:28:53] And when you say we, there were other people present?
CALLER [00:28:57] My husband was there. So here’s a funny story. When my dad told me he was like, OK, if I want to, I want you to make sure that you don’t tell anybody else. And I want you to just come up on your own. And we’re not going to tell anybody. You’re not going to tell your friends or anything because he was really worried that maybe some of his acquaintances or some of my friend’s parents might be really weirded out by the whole thing because it’s religious for religious people this is not OK to do euthanasia, you know what I mean? So I was like, OK, wait a second, Dad I’m I’m going to support you on this one hundred percent. I’m going to come up there and I’m going to be with you and all that stuff. And I said, but once you’re gone, I said, Who’s going to take care of me? You know, because I’m not that strong. I said, I need I need my husband to come out there and be with me and be part of this and be able to take care of me at the end, because we also had to, like, clear out his apartment within two weeks. And I mean, a whole bunch of other stuff that was like super difficult if you’re just one person. And so finally, he agreed that that my husband could come and be part of it. And it was great. I mean, my husband and my dad get along great because obviously they both are both bilingual speak Spanish. And so it was it was really, really great. And in the end, my dad was thrilled that he was there. And I’m so glad that he came because literally, like for the next 24 hours, 48 hours, it’s like he’s there saying, eat this drink this, smoke this. He was just helping me along with everything. It’s like one of the things I never realized. When somebody dies, is all the amount of time that you spend on the phone with relatives, you know, like that probably ate up a couple of days for me. So and it was just I wasn’t really aware of that part of it. But yeah, having my husband there was with everything to me.
CHRIS [00:30:48] Wow. Wow. Do you have kids of your own?
CALLER [00:30:58] I do. I have two fantastic kids that are essentially adults. But, Ok want to hear another funny story? So in March, when Covid starts March because I’m in South America, March is like September for us, like that’s March is when all the kids go back to school like university and everything after the summer and March 2020 for my husband and I was we’re empty nesters because our second child was going to university as well. So we were just like this is awesome like we’ve done the work. They’re good people that got into university, they’re studying. It’s all figured out. And we were we were going to shut down our our business just for a couple of months. And we were heading to Europe to go to the Alps because we haven’t seen the Alps so yeah, as, you know, Covid. And so we were empty nesters for all three days. I it’s a sick joke, really. So all four of us in the house again.
CHRIS [00:31:54] Yeah. I have to imagine, because I’m sitting here as you tell your story and, you know, I do my best to remain. Judgment free, you know, sometimes with these calls, I find it impossible, but with this one, I’m just really contemplating what you’re saying. And I find myself sitting here thinking about my parents, and then I find myself sitting here thinking about my son. And. I guess I’m sitting here going, how beautiful would it be to have that sense of peace with my parents before they left, I don’t know, and then I think about my son and I go, how how amazing would it be to to be able to have an opportunity to go, you know, I think there’s I think there’s some opinion or wisdom I’ve accrued that I haven’t really relayed to you yet. Let me make sure you understand this before I go. And then I go, well, then I’m sitting here in my head going. Well, why why don’t I just do those things now, I don’t need to think of it in the perspective of death, but I do think also having my son has made me ponder my own death a little bit in a way that’s not as scary as it was when I was young, because I sit here going OK I was 39 when I had him, so realistically, he’s going to be in his probably early to mid 30s before he has to start taking care of me, whereas my parents are still taking care of each other because they had me younger. So all these things are arising in my head. And I’m wondering. How has this made you think about your own death, how has this made you think about what you want your death to be for your children?
CALLER [00:33:38] Well, you know, as soon as it happened, when my dad died, I mean, I looked at my husband, I was like, I want to do this because I just I have an extremely good relationship, a really good marriage. I feel really lucky. And I just I’m terrified that my husband is going to die first. I don’t want that. I mean, jeeze God, let me go first. I mean, don’t don’t leave me with everything. And then, I mean, we’ve also heard of stories where people can do it together. There was a really nice story of a couple that have been married, I don’t know, something like 70 years. And they and they got euthanasia together. They died at the same time. What do I want for my kids? I don’t want my kids to have to like I don’t want my kids to have to worry about me or take care of me. For example, my father my father had everything paid for, like the we had the funeral plot was already organized, like the like the the cremation with everything with for and basically I just walk in and sign things like none of the hard stuff was really still there for me to have to deal with. And so hopefully I’ll do the same for my kids. Right now I’m trying to figure out what what it’s going to be like in 10, 20 years for my kids when they’re when they’re adults and they have they have kids of their own. We don’t really know what it’s going to be like. I feel like it’s like the big unknown. Is there going to be a Covid 2, is there gonna be a Covid 3? What’s going to happen? You know what I mean? Like, so during since March, like since that we we haven’t been working since March. And so my husband built a huge greenhouse so that at least we can make our own food. We have chickens now, you know, I mean, like things like that. Like I just like we need to start preparing for a future that we don’t really know what what it’s going to be about. So I don’t know if I answered your question.
CHRIS [00:35:23] And no, I mean, me and you just need to philosophize on all this because I hear what you’re saying. It’s like I mean, a year, a year and a half ago, I think we a lot of us used to go, oh these doomsday preppers are nuts. And now I think we’re all going, yeah, know what they are is ahead of the curve on the rest of us.
CALLER [00:35:42] Right.
CHRIS [00:35:43] And then, you know. One thing I wonder if you thought about, because I think there is and I don’t know how true this is, you know, you sit here and you go. Well, when something like covid happens. And there’s millions of people dying. You sit here and you do sometimes have the thought is, is this the earth correcting the problem that is us because we’re abusing the earth.
CALLER [00:36:13] Yeah like we’re the virus.
CHRIS [00:36:15] Yeah. I mean, yeah right. Like, you see floods. You see hurricanes at rates. You see the ice caps melting, you see. All sorts of stuff that we cause and you sit here and you go, is is this the earth kind of, is Covid the antibodies of the earth? Is it the white blood cells of the earth?
CALLER [00:36:37] Right yeah.
CHRIS [00:36:38] Then you sit here and you start thinking like I feel like another thought that I’ve heard quite often is people go, you know, if you link up with a partner and there’s two of you and you decide to have more than two kids, that ecologically you are putting strain and you start to think, wow, that is real. This is science and philosophy and grim, and then it ties back into your story of going, I wonder if there’s going to be people seeking euthanasia to go, you know what? I have I have had my fair share of time, and I want, like your father, I want you to financially be able to have have a security blanket now I want you to ecologically, I want to feel responsible. It’s all, there’s all sorts of moral quandaries about the future and about euthanasia, huh? I know. I’m just rambling.
CALLER [00:37:28] No, it’s true, like, you know, in the Netherlands, they’re actually right now, they’re arguing about whether they’re going to have a euthanasia pill, like you’re going to be able to go into the pharmacy with a prescription and say, yeah, I’ve been prescribed euthanasia pill. Thank you very much. And you go home and then that’s it. I mean, I can just see all kinds of problems with that situation, but that is super interesting that they’re thinking about it. You know what I mean?
CHRIS [00:37:53] Yeah, I mean, you said that was in the Netherlands, right?
CALLER [00:37:57] Yes.
CHRIS [00:37:58] I mean, the the Dutch are way ahead of the curve on legalizing everything, huh?
CALLER [00:38:04] Yeah, well, OK, so like I told you, I was adopted. I found my birth mother when I was about twenty one, and she’s Canadian. And when I met her, she’s like, OK, so your birth father’s Dutch. And so I’m Dutch. And when I was thirty five, I met my Dutch family and everything, and it’s just like they’re so, I feel really proud to be half Dutch because I feel like Dutch people are super pragmatic. They’re very like, oh yeah. You know, like when I found my birth father and I talk to him on the phone, I was like yeah I think that you’re that you’re my biological father and he was like, oh OK, well, let’s let’s go ahead and do a DNA test and before we invest any emotions in this and then we’ll go from there. And I was like, okay, perfect. That sounds great to me, you it was just very like, you know, nobody got their feathers ruffled or anything like that. It was all just like, oh, OK, and like as soon as we get the DNA and it was a positive, he called me and he was lik, oK, so welcome to the family. And that was it. So it was, yeah they look at things very, very like, like I feel like they look at things and they don’t have a whole lot of emotion into the stuff they’re looking at. They’re just looking at facts all the time and figuring out how things how things work. And like if you ever go to the Netherlands, go to a place called it’s called the, I think it’s called the water museum. And they basically tell you how how the Dutch people figured out, figured out living without sinking into the water sort of thing. And it was just amazing. Like when we went with my kids, the kids were like maybe ten and twelve. And they walked in there and after they walked out they basically understood. No questions for the parents about how it works. They understood it all from the museum. So, yeah, it’s nothing but good things to say about the Dutch.
CHRIS [00:39:44] Yeah.
CALLER [00:39:45] Are you still there?
CHRIS [00:39:46] I am, it’s so, I sometimes do just kind of like take a step back and go, this is why I love that this is my job, because you and I can be talking about euthanasia and how you walked your father through the process of his own self selected death. Then we can also talk about how much we admire the pragmatism of the Dutch. Like those things can come up in the same conversation and it makes me really thankful that this is this is my job, I guess.
CALLER [00:40:15] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:40:16] To get back to the real topic at hand, those four days, which must have been for truly head spinning days of your life, were there were there any moments where you found yourself going please don’t do this. What are we doing here? Or was it just no I feel his peace and it gives me peace as well because I can’t imagine I sit here and think of my two parents and I go, I can’t imagine a situation where I don’t have at least a stretch of time where I beg them to reconsider. And it sounds like you had that. But I’m wondering if those last four days, how much of that reared its head.
CALLER [00:40:56] OK, so this is what happened. After I told you we were up there six weeks with the family. We come back from from the vacation. And it was I think it was like I want to say it was, he died on thw 17th, so it must have been around the 9th or something. And we decided to call, I was like let’s skype, let’s skype Grandpa, you know? And so my kids and my husband and I, we were sitting there in front of the computer and we skype my dad. This is when my dad called me over the phone and said I got accepted to the program and I knew what it meant and the kids didn’t know what it meant. And so immediately I started to cry and I asked my husband to take the kids to another room because I hadn’t prepared my kids for it. And and I was just like, Dad, are you sure that this is what you want to do? Are you a hundred percent sure that this is what you want to do? And he was like, yes, this is he. He’s like, I’m thrilled. I’m just so happy it’s finally going to be over. And so then I just took a big breath. Like I said, put my big girl pants on. And when I got there on on the Sunday or Monday, I don’t remember what day it was. I asked him again if this is what he really wanted to do. I was like, I don’t want you to think that I’ve moved mountains to come up here and all this stuff. It doesn’t matter that I’m here again. If you want to, like, change your mind, we can do that. Like I one hundred percent just laid it out. But I only said it one time because I could tell that it was stressing him out. Like he was, he had one foot in the grave. Let me tell you, like I told you, there were six syringes right. So the first two syringes they put them in to relax the body, the second two syringes they put in to stop the breathing and the last two are to stop the heart. They had put in maybe half of the first syringe and my dad’s eyelids were open and never, he never blinked again.
CHRIS [00:42:50] This caller, right, is using words and we can all see the imagery in our mind. Let’s everybody just take a deep breath and think about how we feel about that. Be right back.
[00:43:01] [AD BREAK].
CHRIS [00:43:08] Everybody, that was the final break and now we’re going to go ahead and get our final words from the caller.
CALLER [00:43:13] Chris, he had one foot in the grave. Let me tell you, like I told you, there were six syringes right. So the first two syringes they put them in to relax the body. The second two syringes they put in to stop the breathing and the last two were to stop the heart. They had put in maybe half of the first syringe and my dad’s eyelids were open and never, he never blinked again from the first syringe. So I don’t know how to explain that to you, it just basically like he was so there, like he was 100 percent there. And so as soon as they put something into his body to relax him, like, I think my father never even took an aspirin. He’s one of those people that never took medication. And so it must have just completely had an effect on him right away. But like I said, he never blinked again. So I mean that to me, it was just so he was just. You know, and he just wanted it so bad that I had to one hundred percent be there for him and know that this is the best thing that I could be doing for him. You know, like I don’t have any regrets for being with him and not trying to convince him. But, yeah, let me tell you Chris, I was I was, part of me was hoping for him to say, like when when the doctor said to him, you know, David, are you sure that this is what you want to do? I mean, yeah, I was hoping that he was going to be like, wait a second, maybe we should think about this. Yeah, I was hoping for that, but it didn’t happen that way. And that’s OK, too.
CHRIS [00:44:44] So by the time you did head up there, your kids did know what was happening or no.
CALLER [00:44:51] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:44:51] So they did.
CALLER [00:44:51] Yeah, yeah. I know I I sat down and I explained absolutely everything to them. It was, you know they felt really, really sad because they knew that they weren’t going to ever see him again. I think they were just really sad also for me. You know, they could tell that I was super affected by it. I tried to you know, I tried to go outside and do the heavy crying away from them. And I remember one time on the lot on the day that my dad died. I remember I think it must’ve been after lunch. It was probably like two thirty or something. And I excuse myself and went into the bedroom and I think I stuffed the pillow into my mouth because I was like I was having a huge panic attack, you know, because it’s just like you’re like, OK, five hours, four hours, three hours, two hours, you know, like then you’re like it’s 30 minutes, it’s five minutes, you know, things like that. And it’s just it does a number on your head for sure. But I had I had my husband there and you know just holding my hand, so, yeah I was OK.
CHRIS [00:45:50] And you know, you’ve underlined so so many times and so eloquently that your father, that your father was, truly preferred this method of leaving. And it does sound to me like the way you’ve described it, you know, you said it’s fantastic that you want it to happen to you. It does sound like ultimately you’re happy that he passed away this way rather than you just getting a random call from, you know, one of his health care workers someday that says we found him on the floor. And it is it is far more dignified when you think of it from that perspective.
CALLER [00:46:34] Oh, I mean one hundred percent. A hundred percent. I can’t even imagine. Yeah, getting that call and saying he’s gone and we need you to come in and deal with this sort of thing. No, I can’t even imagine. I, I, I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful. Yeah. I mean no matter what, no matter what it’s sad. Right. No matter what, when somebody that you love leaves the earth, it’s super, super sad and and there’s no way around it. But I mean, the year after that, I witnessed one of my best friend’s husband die of cancer and the agony that that man went through the last two or three weeks of his life. You know, like there’s no way I would want any of my loved ones to go through that. No way.
CHRIS [00:47:22] Yeah, I mean, I certainly, you know, it’s really. Like not to dwell on it or make it about me in any way, but I’m sitting here going, you’re describing something that I can understand the perspective in which it is such a peaceful thing and in many ways a beautiful and dignified thing, and then I also sit here going, man, as someone who has, you know, has tried to harm myself over the years, I sit there and go, that’s what what a what a layered. What a layered thought and I find myself, I have found myself in this this conversation stymied probably more more times throughout the call than I have been in years, like I’ve learned how to navigate this show. And I just sit here going, wow, there’s just so much to think about. There’s just so much to think about.
CALLER [00:48:17] I mean, Chris, if that’s something you tried to do that you tried to do that. Like, I think about those three times that my dad tried to kill himself and he was alone.
CHRIS [00:48:27] Yeah.
CALLER [00:48:27] And that it just breaks my heart to think about that. And he got like he did a really crazy thing. So I asked him, I said, how did you try to kill yourself, like, what did you do? And the first two times he’d gone to the doctor and told him, like made this big lie about how he couldn’t sleep at all and that he needed really strong sleeping pills. And of course, you know, swallowed the entire bottle of sleeping pills and slept for three days and that was it sort of thing. And then I said, OK, so that can did’t work, and I said, what did you do the third time? And he’s like, OK, so this is interesting. And he says, I was listening to this audiobook the other day and they were talking about, what was it, it was like something in the first century BC. There was like there’s some evidence of some soldiers that got really, really sick because they, some soldiers or some horses, the horses, the soldiers’ horses had eaten a whole bunch of rhododendron leaves or rhododendron flowers and apparently they’re super, super toxic. And my dad remembered that outside the lobby of his apartment there’s a huge rhododendron tree. And so he told me that he went down there. At dawn one day, and he picked all the buds off the rhododendron tree and he made a smoothie out of these rhododendron buds and drank the whole thing down, and he was and then he got violently ill, you know, like diarrhea, vomiting, fell over completely. And he was and he was by himself when it all happened. And he said it took him about twenty four hours to get off the floor. So, I mean, I’m like, okay, well, you’re a you’re an intelligent man and we don’t need to be doing that kind of stuff again, you know what I mean?
CHRIS [00:50:10] Absolutely. I mean, that must be so heartbreaking as a daughter to hear about your your blind 88 year old father picking buds off a tree out of desperation.
CALLER [00:50:21] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:50:23] That must be the story or one of the things he tells you where you go, OK, let’s seriously consider what you’re asking, because I just can’t. You can’t have that. You can’t have that.
CALLER [00:50:34] Yeah. Yeah, I was I was like, you know, I made him promise me because he lived high up in an apartment, you know, on the tenth floor. I was like you need to promise me that you are not going to throw yourself off this balcony, that you’re not going to, like, walk down the street somehow and throw yourself in front of a train. I was like you do not put other people in danger because of what you’re going to do. Like I said, you have to think about the person that’s going to find you. And so he did promise me that he’s like, I won’t do anything like that where I’m going involve somebody else that could possibly traumatize them for life sort of thing. But yeah, so I mean, nothing. But I mean, it was so great that it happened as quickly as it did. I mean, it was terrifying for me because I really thought that I had more time. But, you know, looking back on everything and now that we’ve got Covid and all this stuff. No, I mean, it was it was the perfect time for sure.
CHRIS [00:51:30] I wonder, I find myself sitting here going, wow, I wonder what people are going to think when they when they hear this episode because there’s going to be such a wide range of reactions. Right. There’s some people who are going to be sitting there cheering and going this is exactly why I believe that this is something that that should not be stigmatized. And there’s going to be some people going well, human life has value no matter what. And there had to have been a way to improve that life and everything in between. So I guess that I’m sitting here wondering about it. And I guess maybe the best way to explore those reactions is to think about what have what have people said to you in your life when they find out that this happened.
CALLER [00:52:12] Well, you know, using one of your words, they’re stymied like people are just like they never they’re just like, whoa! And it just it kind of stops them in their tracks. They don’t know what to think because, I don’t know, I mean. OK, so I had, when I came back, one of my one of my friends, I’ll put that in quotation marks. I told you know I told her about the experience. She was like, wow, that’s like she’s like, wow. Yeah. That’s your dad really took the unnatural route. That is such an unnatural way to go. Like, wow, he like he basically cheated is what she was saying. And I was like at that moment it was just a little bit too raw for me. Everything that had just happened, I felt like that was incredibly insensitive thing to say. Like I felt a little bit angry, like it was just like, well, natural, unnatural. I don’t know. Who cares, right. Like I mean, this is what he wanted. It was his life, you know? I mean, I don’t know. I maybe I was just a little bit too, I could have just supersensitive at that moment, but I didn’t feel like that was like a fair thing to say, you know what I mean?
CHRIS [00:53:25] I feel like only only a Canadian would would find a way to go, you know, maybe I was just being too sensitive about other people’s opinions of my father’s death. Only a Canadian could find that that caveat with in the middle of that sentence. No, I totally get it. I totally get it.
CALLER [00:53:44] Yeah you know, it’s like I’ve heard people say, like things to me like you’re adopted. Well, you’ve met your birth mother like, wow, I can’t. What did you say to her? And I’m like, thank you. You know, thank you for having me inside your belly for ten months and selflessly giving me away to a family that can provide better for me, you know, and, you know, in some of the opinions are like, I think that your mother is really selfish for doing that. And it’s just like, don’t remember asking you what you thought. You know what I mean?
CHRIS [00:54:14] Mm hmm. I really have always thought, I when I was in high school, when I was entering my freshman year, there was a kid who is a year older than me, and he took his own life. And I remember and obviously this is a very different situation, this was I believe a 15 year old boy, so obviously I don’t think anyone would say it’s the same situation you’ve described with your dad, but the reason I bring it up is I remember being so furious and I’m still so furious that his parents wanted to name a scholarship after him and the school wouldn’t allow it. And they were hoping that his yearbook for his graduating class would include his picture. And again, they wouldn’t allow it. And they said they didn’t want to, you know, glorify it somehow or encourage copycats or feel like people would get positive attention for taking their lives. And while I do understand that perspective, I also remember being so profoundly struck by this feeling of, it feels like this boy is being judged for the way he died. And ever since that I have I’ve just always felt like. That’s just I just think that’s a great wrong to judge someone for how they die. It happens to people who get addicted to drugs, right? You can feel people’s judgment of that. It happens with suicide. You can feel people’s judgment of that. And I think that to hear someone, to hear that someone called your dad’s death unnatural, I understand why that sent you to a place of anger, because it comes from a place of judgment. Right. And I just feel like that’s one of the things that should be out of bounds. No matter how someone dies when someone leaves the earth. I feel like you can ponder it, you can explore it, you can ask questions about it. I’m sure in your case, it sounds like you have no problems discussing the topic with people. But to judge someone for how they died is, to me, just leave it out of bounds. Just leave it out of your heart, you know.
CALLER [00:56:34] Yeah, I agree. I think that’s totally something that yeah, it has. What’s what why what’s the what’s the purpose of it? What’s the purpose of being judgmental about something like that? You know. I don’t know. I think it just ends up hurting a lot of people.
CHRIS [00:56:51] Yeah, it’s because I’m telling you, even I’m not sure what to think and but we’re still able to discuss this for 53 minutes now, judgment free because I’m sitting here going I have always believed ever since you heard stories about Jack Kevorkian back in the day, you sit here going, if someone has terminal cancer and like you said, you saw a friend who just there’s people who spend years of their lives in immense pain with compromised quality of life. And I’ve always said seems to me like people should be able to choose at that point when it’s time to go, I’ve I’ve always thought about if I’m ever in a situation where you know, it’s do we pull the plug or not, because this person’s effectively, you know, they’re living, but only in the sense that there’s there’s a heartbeat and breath. I’ve always said, well, please pull the plug. That’s not what I want. But I’ve I have never considered euthanasia for someone who effectively at the end of the day was just kind of kind of just exasperated by life and sort of tired of maybe the loneliness of being of having your spouse pass away and. Just kind of just kind of done with it. I’ve never thought about that even I’m not sure what to think, but I’m never going to judge it.
CALLER [00:58:11] Yeah, I mean, it’s just like I think I there there’s no case is the same as another, like in every single case is different. Right. And I think at the end of the day, somebody just needs to- like with me he knew that I would, I’m the type of person that will listen. I’m a really good listener. And he knew that I would sit down and I would give him that, like I would listen to exactly what he was telling me and what he was trying to say. I’m I only feel bad because I think he was trying to tell me years before and I just wasn’t really paying attention somehow, you know, and and when I look back on that whole situation, it makes me a little bit sad that perhaps I could have maybe saved him a year of loneliness and maybe gotten him through through a year before. Had I had I really picked up on the signals. I think I was just really busy with my life and my kids and as we do, you know what I mean? And I’m not there for the day to day. Like I mean, my dad and I would talk every every Sunday and I would come up once a year to visit. And I know that was probably wasn’t enough and maybe I should be going up more than that. But that’s just not the way the way it worked out. You know, I live I live really far away. It’s almost, if I can get to Canada from here in twenty four hours. That’s actually really good. It’s more like thirty six hours that would take me to travel.
CHRIS [00:59:26] Where did you wind up in South America?
CALLER [00:59:28] So it’s a big deal. I’m in Chile, I’m in a small town in the south of Chile. So we’ve got Covid, we’ve got earthquakes, we’ve got volcanic eruptions, we’ve got all kinds of stuff.
CHRIS [00:59:39] But listen, I had a friend of mine get married in Chile and I am in love with that country. We they got married in Zapallar. Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Valparaiso, beautiful. Santiago, beautiful. There was people don’t realize. Tell me if this is, I believe, the truth, behind it. There’s just free roaming dogs all over Chile. People kind of treat them like squirrels because, what I hear is that there’s never been rabies like. So you don’t have to fear these dogs. And.
CALLER [01:00:15] That’s not true.
CHRIS [01:00:16] OK, that’s good to know. Good to know.
CALLER [01:00:20] Why there’s so many packs of dogs is everywhere is because essentially people just don’t fix their animal. They don’t have money for that. And so, yeah, that’s I mean, in the little town that I live in, there’s like a pack of like eleven of these. You got to stay away from them because sometimes they’re not super friendly. But yeah, big packs of dogs everywhere, all over Chile. That’s the one thing that foreigners take away from our country. It’s funny.
CHRIS [01:00:42] Yeah, the dogs are there. A dog fell in love with my wife. There was this my wife went out for a run along the beach and this dog started following her. And on her way home, my wife bought some baloney and fed the dog. And then we woke up the next day and we were leaving Zapallar at that point. And the dog was sitting outside of our hotel in the rain. And when my wife emerged, the dog flipped out. And then we went to put our bags in the car. The dog jumped into the car and we had to remove the dog. And my wife, of course, bursts out crying. She had named the dog Curly Dog because it had curly black hair. And then when we drove away, it chased us up the streets. And when we got to the highway, it was running down the highway after us. And I mean, my wife was crying. We still if I bring up curly dog, if curly dog gets brought up, she starts crying, saying, that was my dog. But then you think, are we going to move a Chillean dog who’s used to total freedom in a beach town to a one bedroom apartment in Queens. That dog would have nothing but regret, nothing but regret. And I’ll tell you what, and I know I’m rambling and making about me. I feel bad, but you’ll appreciate this as well. So.
CALLER [01:01:49] No, don’t worry.
CHRIS [01:01:50] The big choice because Chile is such a long and narrow country for for tourists, right, you start in Santiago, Valparaiso, and then you decide, are you going to go north, are you going to go south? You generally aren’t going to do both. And south is Patagonia and the lakes and all that. We decided to go north. And I’ll tell you, we said, you know what? We could just fly up at Calama. Right? Is that the mining town up north?
CALLER [01:02:17] Yeah, you went up there to San Pedro?
CHRIS [01:02:20] Well, we went to San Pedro, the Atacama, which is one of the most magical places on planet Earth. Magic.
CALLER [01:02:27] Yeah, we, I honeymooned there.
CHRIS [01:02:29] Oh, my goodness. You are in the middle of a desert. And then all of a sudden it’s like drop a town that feels like a fantasy town of what you want South America to be. Multiply it by Williamsburg before Williamsburg was was cliche. Fill it with the best food you’ve ever had and just hang out with the nicest people you ever met. But here’s what you’ll laugh at. We were in Zapallar, going to San Pedro de Atacama, and we said, you know, let’s not fly up to Calama. Let’s and let’s just make a road trip out of it, which wound up being a.
CALLER [01:03:03] No!!
CHRIS [01:03:03] Bad idea, bad idea. Driving through a desert on highways where we quickly realized the only reason people are on these highways is for commercial trucking. This is the only reason people take these highways. This is not sightseeing. This is this that was a long and hard trip that it points was scary. But I have to tell you, Chile has a piece of my heart and San Pedro de Atacama in particular. Oh, my God, what a beautiful and magical place.
CALLER [01:03:31] Well if you ever come back you need to come to the south. You need to come to the south. We’ll take you up an active volcano.
CHRIS [01:03:36] Oh, I love it. And we’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about it. Talked about it. Well, it’s funny. We only have 40 seconds left, so I’ll never really know the story.
CALLER [01:03:46] Tha’s crazy.
CHRIS [01:03:47] How you got down to Chile from Canada. But I do just want to say thank you for sharing because it is a divisive topic and a topic we’ve all heard about. And to hear you break it down so eloquently about how peaceful and and how you know you you give it a glowing review as far as a life experience. Eye opening and fascinating and I can’t thank you enough for sharing it.
CALLER [01:04:13] Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Chris. Like I said, I was absolutely thrilled that I was able to get on line with you today. And I really hope that people take something positive out of this conversation.
CHRIS [01:04:26] Absolutely. So much love to you and your family and and wishing nothing but love and peace to your father. And please enjoy the wonderful country you live in because Oh, my God, although I’ve never been more scared than when I was on one of those funiculars, people were like, oh yeah, this is a weird elevator up the side of a mountain that’s been here since 1880. And I’m going, well, how often do they service it? Because it’s making weird clunking sounds.
CALLER [01:04:54] Never been serviced, guarenteed.
CHRIS [01:04:54] Oh my God, it’s beautiful, beautiful place. And I hope you and your family enjoy it.
CALLER [01:04:59] Well, thank you so much. Have a great day. Chris.
CHRIS [01:05:07] Caller, thank you again. This one was just so eye opening, so thought provoking, and I say that personally and I’m sure everyone’s going to everyone out there is going to agree. And and in the comments, I’m sure you’re going to see so many, so many such a range of such a range of reactions. And hey, man, what an amazing call. And hey, if you ever get back to San Pedro, you have to have a slice of tres leche cake for me cause the best dessert I ever had was that. Thank you to Anita Flores in the booth. Thank you to Jared O’Connell, thank you to Shellshag for the music. Thank you to Jordan Allyn for all your help. Chrisgeth.com if you want to know more about me. If you’re on Apple podcast, subscribe, if you’re on Spotify follow, if you’re Stitcher favorite. Really helps when you do check out our whole back catalog ad free at Stitcherpremium.com/stories. Thank you so much for listening.