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This is a post I've tried to put off writing, because it's a subject I deeply loathe...assisted suicide. As you undoubtedly know it's legal in several states (including mine), and made the news late in 2014 with the Youtube coverage of the decision of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer, to kill herself. (I wrote about this at the time on my other blog, Starting The Day With Grace...please click here if you're interested.)
It's hard to be objective, but I'm going to try, since some of you reading this may come up against this issue...your spouse may one day simply have had enough, and be tempted to reach for the hemlock.
First, some background - the patient has to have a diagnosis that's terminal within six months, and has to have two doctor visits, at least fifteen days apart, before the prescription for the suicide "cocktail" of drugs is issued. The waiting period is to ensure that depression isn't driving the decision, though anyone with a terminal diagnosis is bound to be depressed.
Once the prescription's issued, it can be filled, and the fatal dose taken at leisure.
The proponents of this protocol say that it's a chance for a dignified farewell, that one drifts off to sleep with friends and family gathered around. That it's a choice, the last earthly act of self-control.
Unfortunately, for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs (among others), it's also a sin. Kind of a bad one; the one they say lands you in hell. Forever, and they don't even let you out on weekends.
I have two problems with the scenario...first, making family and friends watch you die as a deliberate act is a bit heartless. I've seen people die; it's never pretty. The body does not want to give up, and you'll never see this described on the "suicide is painless" websites. It's something I would not want to see, I would not want my wife to see, and I would rather that you, dear reader, never see it either.
My second issue is that suicide removes the possibility of the good that can still be done. A kind, encouraging word from the suburbs of Cancer Hell can mean a lot to someone who just had the nightmare doctor visit.
The terminally ill still have a lot to give, and they should not be thrown away...by society, or by themselves.
That line really says it all...I'm rather proud of it, so I'll stop here.