Euthanasia is NOT suicide. Any of us can “off” ourselves and the only problem is between ourselves and God, if there is a God. But euthanasia fans always want someone else involved. And that’s when the Jack Kevorkians of the world step up to the plate - if that’s the last face you’d like to see before you die. What we need is better palliative and end-of-life care - not death.
However, I do admit that the moral issue of suicide is much cleaner to me than the moral issue of euthanasia.
Suicide is mostly a decision we make for ourselves, and logic isn’t always the driving factor. But even so, that decision is between us and God.
It is always that road, the slippery road, where people begin making decisions for others.
That is the one that will eat and erode a society.
But as long as there have been humans, there has always been the recognition inside us that we do indeed have the power to name the time of our passing if we choose to. God gives us that-he has to-the ability to choose.
Much as he gives us the ability to love him and believe in him...or not. He gives us the option to either give him the choice in the matter, or to take the control lever for ourselves. There are some who say that taking that power into your own hands is embracing a false idol. I don’t feel that way myself.
It is a test of faith.
It is said that God never gives you more than you can handle, but if suicide isn’t just that, what is? I have always hoped that the God I believe in would have the compassion (which he must) to accept suicides into his arms with the greatest love, and be with them in heaven.
Somehow, I feel it in my heart that it is as I have just written. I feel it with a conviction. But, I also understand, I cannot know for sure.
I work in medicine and have seen some awful things over the years, how hard it is for some people to die. Just awful. And just as we cannot know how God thinks on these things, one can’t help but feel that same inability to completely grasp how we ourselves would fare when confronted by some of those things. It makes me shudder.
A few years ago, I had a heart wrenching experience when a co-worker fell ill. A beautiful, young, vivacious woman, with a couple of kids, a loving husband, pets, work, doing it all and being universally admired while doing it, was a gem of a human being. A gem. We all loved her. All of us.
She became ill, debilitated and wasted away in a short period of time.
And she clung to life. That woman suffered and struggled to live. She did it for her kids and her husband. When she became so ill that the battle became too tough to bear, she said to a friend at her bedside “I don’t want to go.” And her friend (another co-worker I admire greatly for her intellect, commonsense and ubiquitous practicality) said “I know. But you can’t stay.”
And she replied “I know.”
She died shortly thereafter. It was as if she finally realized, that after fighting so hard, it was okay to relax your death grip on life. Almost as if you had a toll or a debt you were obligated to pay before you could pass.
And you fully realized that you have paid the toll.
That is what I thought she did. But the point is, how she accepted her condition with such...grace. At least outwardly. And you have to think: “How would I handle that?” It is a very sobering and humbling thing to dwell on.