After reading of his death, we were inspired and moved to share the words of wisdom imparted by Shannon Larratt’s art of living. His recent suicide was preceded by a well-written and insightful farewell blog post – full of his thoughts on life, death and dying. A few of the issues he touches upon are important in today’s mess of a medical system and the politics of dying a pain free death. And his personal tributes and remembrances are heart felt, raw honesty that almost everyone can relate to.
Tattoos and body modifications are an art form in themselves, personal expressions using human flesh as a canvas or sculpture. Some you may cringe from and some you may love. Shannon gave this art a visual forum when he founded BMEzine and his blog – ModBlog.
Shannon was the creator and former editor and publisher of BMEzine. It is the oldest and largest body modification website on the internet, as well as the companion online community site IAM.BMEzine.com. He also published several books, including ModCon: The Secret World Of Extreme Body Modification. He was an established online author, artist, computer programmer, film producer, and business owner. – Via Wikipedia
Some exceptional paragraphs from Shannon’s final post -
“If I knew my life was going to be this short, I would have pushed harder, not frittered so much of it away. I wish I’d seized every single opportunity, not just “many of them”, thinking “I can do that next year.”
“But I do believe that there were fundamental shortcomings in the way both my condition and my pain was treated, and that the last few years could have been much more pleasant if the pain had been more aggressively managed. I believe this was in part because of the prejudice of multiple doctors due to my appearance causing them to stereotype me as drug seeking (and the simple reality is that it can be hard to tell, and we are so cruel as to prefer to “punish” the sick than to “reward” the mentally ill). I wish there was some way to make those doctors understand the cruelty they enacted. A patient should have the right to a pain free life, even if that comes with some risk. I understand that doctors are pressured due to our “war on drugs” mentality, but I don’t think all the blame should go on the politicians.”
“The last medical thing I want to mention is that I want to strongly advocate for “right to die” legislation. Canada currently has no such thing. It is my strong believe that if I had known that there was a “safe”, pain-free way for me to go at a time of my choosing, hopefully at home surrouded by love, it would have brought me not just enormous peace, but I believe would have given me strength to fight this even longer than I have. As Isaac Asimov said, “No decent human being would allow an animal to suffer without putting it out of its misery. It is only to human beings that human beings are so cruel as to allow them to live on in pain, in hopelessness, in living death, without moving a muscle to help them.”
“Last minute reflections and bits of advice… seize every opportunity that’s in front of you and live life to the fullest. Even with everything I’ve done, there is so much more I wish I’d squeezed in. Don’t let a single day (well, maybe a single day) be idle. Have every adventure you can, and explore every street — although treat the one-way streets with caution. Don’t fritter you life away into television, random browsing, and pointless substance abuse (I have at times been guilty of all of these) — although remember there are valid uses for them, both for growth and entertainment. Have passion about the future, and in the present. Especially if you’re young, push your education and your skills to their limits on every level. Don’t just graduate high school, get a degree, get a doctorate if you can. I know these things aren’t for everyone, they are for most, and they also open doors to some of the most special adventures. Even if you can’t afford proper schooling there are many, many ways to learn, free courses to volunteering, and so on. Value your health, and the health of our planet, and strive beyond its borders. We have such a glorious future, but never forget that your part in that future could end at any moment, so live a life that you can be pround of. And of course love and treat each other well.”