To Live Or Die – Is It Our Choice?

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(By Liza) My previous post talked about the heartbreak of having a pet put to sleep or euthanized as is the term, not once did anyone question the rights and wrongs of this. Because it’s a legal act to help stop the suffering of the animal. So how come when we talk about euthanasia and assisted dying for people, it is a completely different matter? Well of course it is not legal in this country and there are many issues and ethical questions that make it an extremely difficult subject.

I recently visited someone who is very elderly, unhappy and disabled. I feel so sorry for her, she is in pain and literally waiting to die. The questions I asked myself were, is this a good enough quality of life? Should she be allowed to be relieved of her suffering and die with dignity? After all it is her own body, maybe she should be able to do as she pleases with it? Should she be allowed to have a choice without being judged? The lady in question didn’t ask me to help her die, she is just getting on with it, but I’m not sure how I would deal with it should she or anyone else ask, I don’t think I would be brave enough to assist them, however strongly I felt about it and whoever it was. I think assistance from a doctor may be acceptable, but involving a relative or friend is probably not a good idea for many reasons.

If I was that person who was suffering, living (if you can call it that) a bleak, painful existence, I don’t think I could ask someone else to help me end it, it would be too much of a responsibility to give them. The problem is the alternative only has one name- suicide.

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2 thoughts on “To Live Or Die – Is It Our Choice?

  1. I understand what you are saying. It doesn’t seem right that we have to fear getting old, that we have no control over our bodies. For me one answer would be the option to have help ending our own life if we were enduring great pain and suffering. I feel this is a valid argument for making euthanasia legal.

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  2. Dying is not a choice as we all must die someday. For some the way of dying is not a choice. an accident may cause our death or a willful act of violence. Often there is no rhyme nor reason. I went through a year in Vietnam and a quarter of my company either died or suffered severe wounds. I came through without a scratch, yet I had the same chance as the quarter who were hit by the enemy. My brother didn’t have a choice, his enlarged heart killed him at the age of nineteen. I was fifty two when my aortic valve became 95% shut, damn near killed me and without today’s open heart surgery I would have died. I suppose that now I have some measure of control over the time of my death.

    But of those who become disabled and cannot pursue the end of their lives without assistance, well, that is the rub. Having to endure almost unendurable pain with no relief in sight unless one wants to become so drugged out of their minds, well neither thought is of much comfort. I don’t know the answer and at my age (just shy of 70), the prospect of becoming totally disables and in great pain tends to frighten me. That is the problem of age.

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