Friday, November 7, 2014

Death and Dignity

After reading a friend's blog article about Brittany Maynard, I was going to write a reply on his post. But given how at odds we are on the religious spectrum, him being white male Protestant and me being Creole female nothing, I decided that maybe it would be better if I didn't. Rereading my comment, I felt like it would be offensive to him on a personal and religious level. Much as I enjoy discussing religion with others, I don't enjoy offending them. So here is my expanded comment in response to his post, 3 things I would have told Brittany Maynard.

Very well written. I'm afraid I have to disagree with it though.

Yes, she'd be alive and with her family. But what's more cruel: for her to be slowly and painfully dying for a few more years before passing on -or- for her family's selfish need to have her that way because "she means more to us alive than dead"? Yes, life is precious. But at some point quality of life must override our need for that person to be alive.

Both of my grandmothers died from strokes; one took years to slowly fade while the other died after two days. As much as I love and miss them every single day, I would have rather seen neither one suffer as they did if there was an alternative.

Gramma lived with us for a while after her second stroke, before Hurricane Katrina. I was away at college when she first moved in but when I came home for the summer I helped my mother take care of her. She needed help with *everything* and I know she hated being a burden. I know she did appreciate when I made the bed nice and tight for her. After Katrina, our house was destroyed, all of our families were displaced, so she was put into an assisted hospital room as soon as my aunts could find one in the city. There she wasted away even further. The last time I saw her, she spoke in a whisper because to her ears her voice sounded too loud. The next time I saw her several months later was at her funeral.

Granny had a stroke the day after having surgery. She lay in a medically induced coma for two days. The doctors said she had a very low chance of waking up and if she did then she'd basically be a nearly vegetable and would have to relearn everything and would never have the same quality of life. So on the second night when she took a turn for the worse, her children decided to take her off of life-support. She passed after just 30 minutes.

What was more cruel? For each to lay alive but suffering? Or for us the family to selfishly wish them this way so that we would still have them?

"Beauty in suffering" sounds like a cop-out. That is one thing I'll never understand about the more conservative sects of Christianity. How can you believe that God *wants* you to suffer? And not just suffer but to glorify His name *while and because* you're suffering! I mean, it just blows my mind. I thought God was supposed to be loving and caring and compassionate. Not reveling in your pain. I just don't understand, can't fathom, why someone would find comfort in a sadistic masochistic God. He is above all that shit. Why would he care if you suffer? Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience. Why would He need you to suffer in order to be more awesome? It doesn't make sense. At. All.

I think better to "die with dignity" than to suffer for selfishness.