I Did Not Want To WriteThis

Death is not a particulaly pleasant topic.  But, there is a beautiful article in the latest Humanists written by the wife of a man who completed what we call “assisted suicide”.  I hope some of you will take a look at it.

It appears the couple were both academics.  When they discovered the husband had a nasty kind of alzhemer’s, he began to worry about the two of them.  Would he become dangerous to her?  What would happen to her well being when he could no longer recognize her?

Eventually, he decided he wanted to die before the devastating onset of the disease.  They investigated and eventually chose an organization to assist them, Final Exit Network.

The tricky part was the timing.  They both wanted to enjoy as much of their life together as possible, but he was required to do much of the suicide preparations and final act.  So, it had to be done before he lost the mental ability to accomplish all the steps.

All through the planning, they both had to attest over and over to the people from Final Exit this was his decision and no one else’s.  Right up to the last minute he was given the option of backing out.

The wife’s story of the experience led me to conclude people should be afforded this option without fear of government or other interference.  The problem with dying in this way is a political one.

Anti abortion operatives do not want individuals making decisions only they are qualified to make.


18 Responses

  1. In Oregon, the death with dignity legislation was passed years ago and has helped many people who chose death over a prolonged battle with a disease. Other states should consider this legislation.

  2. dan

    “The problem with dying in this way is a political one.”

    Absolutely. It’ll be interesting to see how life insurance policies will be written. If they’ve not yet done so, I figure they’ll not cover a person’s death if it is prematurely cut short by euthanasia. Even if someone is diagnosed with a terminal disease.

    1. dan 9:06 “It’ll be interesting to see how life insurance policies will be written.”

      Maybe there is some way to write insurance so heirs could collect from a suicide, but I doubt it. We all have fire insurance, but you can’t collect if you set the fire.

      We just heard about a suicide of a man about 50 in our extended family. This is the second time for young male relatives we are related to by marriages.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        There has been, and I have no reason to believe it still isn’t currently, a general provision in insurance law, that in the event of a suicide, no payment is made within a two year period of the date of issue of the policy. supposedly preventing a premeditated benefit for a premeditated suicide. I have a friend who sells insurance, and at 2;AM he got a call from someone obviously drunk who asked him if his insurance paid for suicide. He didn’t recognize the voice, so he told him “no, it won’t pay for suicide”. They guy hung up, and my friend didn’t have a claim. A slight fib, but whoever called must still be alive.

  3. Simple

    We seem to love our pets more than our fellow humans. We put our animals to sleep when they have no quality of life and no hope for a recovery. We make grandma suffer through it.

  4. Simple

    Why is it that the people that claim to believe in heaven and that they will be with Jesus , the most afraid of death?

    1. Wanna B Sure

      “…the most afraid of death?” That has not been my observation. Certainly no one relishes the sometimes long and painful situations people sometimes go through to reach the point of death, but the getting there is not the being there. We are reminded in 1st Thes; 4 not to grieve as if there is no hope. I wonder if where you get your opinion is only seeing the sadness of loved ones and friends left behind in the here and now, but that certainly isn’t fear. Sometimes there is regret for not having said “I love you” more often, or being there at the time of death, or even apologizing for something in the past, yet that too is not fear. In fact, I would be suspicious if someone considered close didn’t exhibit sadness, even great sadness. Are not believers entitled to sadness? I have lost family members, and I miss them, and am saddened by their absence, but I/we have no “fear” of what caused their absence.
      What you believe you see is not necessarily what you saw.

      Your; “Why is it that the people that claim to believe in heaven and that they will be with Jesus…” ; is a misunderstanding of the situation. The resulting Heaven is not so much the comforting fact as is the why and how we arrive there in the first place, and that is by that which has been done for us by Jesus on the cross, through faith. That is in the here and now.

      1. Wolfy32

        Hmm, interesting. I’ve heard many pastors say, that a person is not a Christian if they have not questioned their faith at times.

        It is normal to question one’s faith, and a part of the growing process.. So, I do believe that Christians have every reason to fear death. How do they know with all absolute certainty that the bible, Christianity, God, is there waiting on the other side. Is there something we’ve done that’s been forgotten but unforgivable? Is heaven just a pipe dream to give people a hope / reason to keep going in life? Is it just to alleviate fears?

        I think these questions and more are just the tip of the iceberg on any person Christian or not. After all if heaven is real, why would any sane person stay here in this world? Why not die and go somewhere that’s much nicer??

        Why would we want to age, and get older only to suffer and die? yes, very harsh questions, no doubt, but, Christianity creates another paradox.

        You can only go to heaven if you die of natural causes, not self inflicted, but, it’s the place you want to be. Because the alternative sucks.

        I don’t know that it’s something we can ever know because so many people think they’re “right”. Maybe someday we’d have the ability or technology to prove it… Or not. In the meantime, we make our own personal choices as to what death means for us… I think most people at least fear it a little. Eventually, I believe one grows to accept it as part of life.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Wolfy; Re “forgotten but un forgiven.”; One should not be at all concerned with “forgotten”. Being forgiven is blanket forgiveness with the exception of the ‘biggie’ of denying the Holy Spirit to work repentance. (The unforgivable sin). Something so inconsequential so as not to be remembered. (like stealing a stick of candy when you were 4 yr. old) If you did remember it, and regretted it, it would not be forgotten by you but would be by God through faith. If your conscience is bothered, simply ask to be forgiven for anything you “knowingly or un -knowingly committed , and be confident it has been forgiven. We are getting close to “How many angles dance on a pin”.

          1. Wanna 2:15 “Being forgiven is blanket forgiveness with the exception of the ‘biggie’ of denying the Holy Spirit to work repentance [the unforgiveable sin].”

            This idea, planted in the heads or made up by the people who wrote the Bible, has been passed down many generations into our time. It is a quaint notion that reflects a large portion of U. S. and European culture. In other cultures, it is not present. Keeping the notion alive is a goal for many, though it is not the least bit important.

          2. Wanna 4:27 “More ‘quaint’. Unimportant to you. How quaint.”

            I have to yield a little on the importance of those notions discussed in the Bible and taken at face value by so many millions. It is important to believe these things, or pretend to believe them, if one is to fit into our culture. To be outside these notions is to be different, to not be accepted by many who we depend on, employers, family and neighbors. But, they remain unimportant and quaint as ideas that stand up to the test of critical thinking.

          3. Wanna 5:47 “…as defined by those of unbelief.”

            I realize it is impossible for some to question or doubt the concept that an ancient person died for our “sins”. Staying within that cultural norm is comfortable for the majority. Looking beyond for the source of the belief helps others.

    2. Wolfy32

      It’s been driven into many Christian’s heads that Suicide in any fashion is evil and unforgivable.

      I often wondered about that because the bible specifically says there is nothing greater than for a brother to give his life to spare his brother.

      That to me is a form of suicide! So, how can all suicide be wrong if some is o.k.

      I’ve heard arguements such as suicide being the greatest sin because all the things one is meant to complete in life is left undone. But what does a person sitting in a nursing home not having a clue where they are or who they are accomplishing? Or the person going to die a terrible death of cancer?

      At the same time where does the line get drawn. A person suffering from severe mental illness such as severe depression could argue they are no longer useful to society and end their life legally because of their own depression. Is that right or wrong? A 25 year old severely depressed, meds just make things worse and whom is unable to function.. Do they have as much right as a 90 year old suffering from dementia?

      I have to wonder too, if the whole anti-suicide wasn’t more of a self serving thing… MONEY. Usually the elderly and those needing support have to pay for that support… In our society, nursing homes have to be one of the biggest rackets there is in money mongering. $5,000 – $7,000 a month to live in a 1 room appartment with no kitchen or any amenities and many times the room is shared?


      If many of those suffering from extreme illness were euthanized, imagine how much revenue would be lost by the industry! People could actually have some money left to pass on to future generations.

      Yes, it is a political and ethical debate. Where is the line drawn and who decides where the line is? Not to mention it’s a highly sensitive topic.

  5. entech

    It is always vaguely amusing that after a catastrophe so many go to church to give thanks for being saved from heaven.

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