Well, I have thought. I have done my thinking and my pondering and now it is time to write.
We all know about life. We all know about living it.
We all know about death. We all know about the sorrow in it.
We’re all faced with life and death every day.
Unfortunately, sometimes, life and death, well, they collide unexpectedly.
A surgery gone wrong….
A birth that takes a life.
Life happens. Death happens. We all know that.
One thing that no one seems to be eager to openly talk about though is Dying With Dignity; otherwise known as Assisted Suicide.
Suicide… Such a secret word.
We’ve made it into such an ugly word.
It’s a word that’s rarely talked about openly….
It’s a word that is hidden….
It’s a word that, when we say it, we do so with our heads down and our voices lowered.
Why should it be this way?
Really, when you think about it, suicide has touched us all in some way.
Perhaps you know someone who tried…
Perhaps you know someone who was successful….
It has touched us all in some way.
More often than not, it is the move of a person who has been in physical or mental pain for so long that all they can do is pray that their smile hides their tears from the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, most of those who are successful with ending their lives end up doing so all alone. Completely alone. Isolated from their family and friends. Completely without anyone to support them through their turmoil.
Why should it be this way? Why should those who we love have to wander off by the light of the moon to find peace from their pain?
Why should those they love be left calling the police, calling the public, asking for help, searching… Only to find…
Why should it be this way?
Yes, we have an Assisted Suicide Law in Canada now. That’s one step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the hoops that you have to jump through are so great and the standards that you have to meet to even be eligible make it impossible for those suffering the worst to find peace any other way than by taking life and death into their own hands.
Why should it be this way? For any of us?
Suicide is legal. Why should we have to sneak away and be isolated in our pain though?
I’m not saying that everyone who is feeling blue should be able to jump on the list and end it all. That’s just nonsense. But if there was a waiting period…. If there was accountability…. If there was honest thought put into it and honest accountability taken, why shouldn’t anyone who is suffering be able to say ‘Enough is enough. I can’t do this anymore.’?
Let’s take an example shall we?
I know a family (whom I won’t mention) who recently lost someone dear to them to suicide. Great family, strong family. Great friends. Amazing friends. Great people in a great community.
The person who succeeded in ending their life was receiving treatment for their pain. They had a support network all set out. They had people they could call at any time day or night. Everything was being done right.
But the pain persisted.
Slowly, the end was carefully, thoughtfully, and secretly planned by the person; last wishes were written down; the final moments visualized.
And then the call was made; ‘Something has gone wrong…’.
A search was launched… But they were too late. As with most successful plans, the call was made not to say ‘come save me’ but instead to allow the person to be found with as little time passing and as little trauma to friends and family as possible.
The end of the story goes the way all stories of suicide go…
Someone who was loved died alone….
Someone who was loved felt that the only way they could end their pain was to sneak away by the light of the moon and end their life….
The people who loved them are left behind….
They are left with the questions.
Why should it be that way?
Why couldn’t the person have looked at their doctor and said “I can’t. Please, I’ve had enough.” Left the office with instructions to talk to their loved ones and come back in ___ days. If they still felt the same after ___days, they get a prescription; post dated for ___ days. They then have to take that to the pharmacy. When they are there, they need to look the Pharmacist in the eye and say yes, this is my choice. The Pharmacist takes the prescription and puts it on hold until the fill date. The patient comes back at the fill date and picks up their prescription. Then life and death is in their hands. If they choose life, great. If they choose to take the medication, they can do so in the comfort of their home laughing and remembering life with their loved ones.
Wouldn’t that better than the questions? Wouldn’t that be better than sneaking off to leave your loved ones to launch a search for you?
Wouldn’t that be better than knowing that someone we love is in pain and suffering?
There have been studies done. There are so many people out there who have considered ending it; the pain is too great, the quality of life is lacking, there is no life for them to live because of the pain. There are many of those people in our midst. They drag from day to day and pray that no one knows their inner feelings. But they stay around because they can’t see a way to easily leave this life without leaving a mess; and they don’t feel that they can just walk up to their friends and family and say ‘Help me tidy up my life so I can die.’…
They can’t do it.
So they stay. They drag from day to day.
And then there are others who have gone so far as to make all of the secret preparations for their exit; final wishes, wills, even the means… And then they get what they need to end their life in their hands… And they find power in that. They find strength in that. Eventually the item that was to help them end their life ends up in a closet, in an attic, in the basement; dusty and forgotten… But always in the back of their minds… It’s their choice. Life is in their control.
And why shouldn’t it always be that way? Why shouldn’t we all have the power to choose?
Why should any family have to go through the trauma of a secret suicide?
Why shouldn’t everyone who is in pain be afforded the luxury of Dying With Dignity?