I get it: I absolutely understand why a person would want, if possible, to be in control of death.
A blogger wrote of death, “Death is not Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black. Death is not anything like you have seen in the movies. There is no quiet symphony, there are no fireworks. Death can be violent and messy, or it can be as quiet as a shadow, and it can create some of the worst memories imaginable — memories that will never fade. Many of us, sadly, know this.” Shumaker
For several years I watched someone I love slowly die. But by watching their death slowly creep forward, limiting our ability to reminisce about those golden times, or memories of the past. And they always seems to have passed by far too quickly then we both expected. I saw personally how easy it is to misguide my emotions, my feelings, and most of all my compassion(s) toward their final and last struggle in life because I couldn’t or wasn’t prepared to let go.
We’re not supposed to be totally in control of every aspect of living. And in living there are no guarantees, warranties, or return policies. In fact, today we are preoccupied with removing risk and fear in life, that we sometimes forget really how to live it. Or how we could impact others while living it.
It’s that fear that drives many to be on the lookout for genetic markers, they then subject themselves to countless amounts of testing, not to mention the awful amounts of money spent on such. It scares me, as it would scare most of us. Testing for genetic markers not only runs up cost of medical insurance and treatments of those people who are pandering to fear, but it reduces opportunities for everyone in the proses. It opens a door in our thoughts and what should scare us more than those questions that come after going through that doorway, is our over simplified attempts to reduce fear and prolong the inevitable.
Should I ever be diagnosed with such awfulness, that same disease, what then?
How would I then choose to live, to interact with…what attitudes would I express, but most of all (and I’m afraid the least thought of question of all)…How will my choices on how I live today effect those around me when I’m inevitably gone? That scares me.
Rather than accept a horrible death, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard refused. She found out a year ago that the dreadful headaches she was suffering from weren’t normal and that they weren’t going to go away. Maynard had terminal brain cancer. A few days after her diagnosis, she had a partial craniotomy and a partial resection of her temporal lobe. This spring she found out not only had her tumor come back, but that it was even more aggressive. Her doctors told her she had six months to live.
In an interview with People magazine, Maynard shares, “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die.”
Maynard doesn’t want to die a terrible death. “Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”
In another interview she was asked, if she was terrified with planning her suicide / death… Brittany cut the reporter off and said, I’m not killing myself, or committing suicide per say, cancer is killing me—I’m deciding when.
Advocates of death with dignity, claim that it isn’t suicide in deciding your time of death if you are in the process of dying and seeking the option to hasten an already inevitable and imminent death. But then, doesn’t everyone living today fit into just such a painting with a broad brush?
Looking for assistance no matter how grim the circumstances or health condition, that also involves other person who may also have a claim to dignity within life as well; they may have taken an oath to their chosen profession to do no harm. in essence everyone in the medical field fight against all odds of 100% of all people eventually dying. Is asking another person with medical background to help you end your life not also asking, so to speak, for assistance in finding a hit-man? Perhaps someone might think I am being cold with that hit-man statement. But really, if you’re looking to kill someone, even if that someone is you, aren’t you acting in the same manner when looking for that “thing” that will end life just the same?
When it comes to suicide people who would make such a choice already have countless ways to commit suicide, why do we then need government to make laws in regulating it? It’s ironic that tax money that has built the best medical system in the world, a system that uses technology to protect and preserve life against all odds would now be forced to provide life ending prescriptions.
It’s a complicated issue at best, and far too complicated to address everyone’s emotions satisfactorily. This is why I’m on the side of individuals making that choice for themselves, minus the inclusion of any governmental assistance and any attempt to popularize medical assistance as being compassionate in providing specific prescriptions to cause death. For me it is when we regulate every aspect of an already complicated and personal issue, we place people in charge of making choices (To allow or not) to allow for us to make such a choice outside of our own personal choice, which will ultimately cause misguided compassion, guided by emotional feelings, to choose or to make choices, only based on a societal impact. When life, no matter who’s life that is among the living, is just looked at as if their just another number, because we all fit within the definition that the advocates of death with dignity uses to twist compassion with this subject along with government who will then decide when individuals can’t decide for themselves? Who decides with auto accidents….will we then give assistance based on some newly remembered statements of the victims own policies on this issue? Will we then have to make societal decisions to see who is worthy of medical assistance based on survival and future contributions as opposed to present rehabilitation costs, or some other qualifier in determining quality of life? Is quality of life suddenly going to be redefined to include motor skills, because I’m sure someone out there would consider it to be just as life ending to be confined to a wheelchair as some other life ending affliction or cancers? Will a parent decide for their adolescent children? Should they?
When it comes to life and death there is no one shoe fits all public policy. So there is no room for government—be it, city, local, county, state, or federal government, which should regulate such matters.
It’s a hard enough of a choice to make for individuals on how they would like to be remembered by you because of those choices they make on how they will live, or die, after they are diagnosed with some terminal illness? I would like to think anyone’s choice would be on the side of being a positive for those we would leave behind. After all life is all about the memories. In the case of my loved one who I had to watch slip away. Slowly losing their memories, their ability to tell jokes, their ability to recognize my face, who then on top of it all had to lose their motor-skills…I will always remember their face when a bit of time that was longer then we both expected went by before we could spend time together again, it was that light in their eyes (the faintest of memories remembered before that too was snuffed out), and that embracing hug…that joy…for both of us, that also gave calm and peace before their passing. And for me it was their lasting message of “I love you–now go live your life in a positive way”, even though their best efforts didn’t allow them to speak.
And that is why no amount of government regulation, for or against, can ever decide or get in the way of someone’s personal decision being made on this issue. At the same time we as the living should realize, we don’t really have the right to demand of our government or modern medical doctors or system to end life on request without also having that request become a negative impact. No matter how small that impact may be at first, it’s the living that has to deal with that slippery slope that could lead to abuse at some point. And to those who plan to end it all because of some unbearable affliction, you don’t get to cast a vote on how society should live life after you’re gone. You only should get to decide how, if anything, is going to affect you’re life.