*note: I started this post before Ariel Sharon had passed
As my father sinks further into debilitating illness this question has been on my mind a lot as of late. As well as my own reality of aging…and what lies ahead.
And in the past several weeks a number of news stories have caught my attention.
The case of the girl in Oakland CA who has been declared, by multiple doctors, to be brain dead with her family insisting she is alive and must be maintained by machines.
And former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon who has been kept alive for 8+ years after suffering a stroke and entering a coma. ( article )
I have had dogs and cats all my life. And (I’d like to believe- althought the truth is probably more gray) that I never hesitated to end their sufering when their time came. Something thousands of us do every day.
And yet when it comes to those we love- we can not allow ourselve to end their suffering. (yes- a few states, washington, oregon, montanna, vermont have passed some form of law allowing, in theory, for terminally ill patients [those still able] to end their lives).
And I can’t help but feel our opposition is largely based on the christian belief that “god” owns us and only they can decide to take our lives. But I can;t help but feel the opposite. It is our weakness that stops us from doing the right thing- to end the suffering of those we love.
And let’s not even start on the discussion of the costs to society of keeping people alive by artificial means for no real purpose…