In the spring of 2005 I placed Lucy, our 14-year-old English springer spaniel on the veterinarian’s table. The vet quickly injected the syringe into the artery on top of her leg. With tears streaming down my face, I asked how long this would take. With only half the fluid in the syringe injected, He said she was already dead. My beloved dog was dead. She had been old, deaf, mostly blind, in pain from arthritis and unable to stand due to a stroke she had suffered the previous day. Euthanizing Lucy was my only option; she was suffering and there would be no healing from her illnesses.
This week I was watching a Spreecast show called “Bailing Out”. Bailey shared an article about Katyia Rowe’s decision not to abort her child. Scans had shown her unborn son’s brain had not formed properly. If he survived the pregnancy, his life expectancy would be less than five years and he would require 24/7 care. He would be, for lack of better words, a vegetable. Then she had a 3d scan. On the screen, she saw her son blowing bubbles, waiving, kicking and smiling back at her. She and her partner were resolute in their decision. She said, “If he could smile and play and feel then despite his disabilities he deserved to enjoy whatever life he had left, no matter how short. Just because his life would be shorter or different, didn’t mean he didn’t deserve to experience it. As long as he was pain free I vowed to let him enjoy his life both while inside me and outside, no matter how long that be.” On October 23, 2012, Lucian Haydes Johnson was born. Reflecting on holding her son for the first time Katyia said, “It was without doubt the happiest moment of my life. Lucian could have died at anytime in my womb but he held on long enough for us to meet him properly. My son looked utterly perfect. The love and joy I felt the moment they put Lucian in my arms told me it had all been worth it.” Lucian died nine hours after he was born.
Lucian’s parents chose to let him live even though it meant certain heartbreak. They knew the constant sacrifice they would have to make if he lived. Caring for a loved one with that type of disability is a constant strain on one’s finance, time, energy and most certainly, one’s emotion; yet in their hearts they chose life. For them, they made the right decision.
Ironically, the day after I read about Lucian’s amazing short life, I read an article about Marc and Eddy Verbessem being euthanized in Belgium on December 14th. They were 45, born deaf and going blind. They couldn’t bear being unable to see or talk to each other. In Belgium, assisted suicide is legal for terminally ill and suffering patients. The twins were eligible to be euthanized because of the suffering caused by not being able to hear or see. Reports say their family supported their decision. According to an article posted on globalpost.com, euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002, and Belgium’s current socialist government has put forth a controversial amendment that would allow dementia suffers and children to commit legal suicide. Dementia sufferers and children would need family and medical consent.
Now think about this….if Lucian would have been born in Belgium and lived nine years instead of nine hours, being a “vegetable,” his life could have been terminated. At any time between conception and nine years (or more) of life, his parents could have terminated killed him. It is legal to euthanize kill him. Some say he should have been aborted killed.
Think about this…Grandma is in the nursing home. She wears a diaper. She can’t feed herself. She can’t walk. She can’t speak. It’s ok to end her suffering and euthanize kill her.
Think about this….your loved one is in a car accident. He is broken. If he survives, he will be a quadriplegic. He is in a coma. It is uncertain if he will live. We could end his your suffering by euthanizing him.
As much as Lucian’s and the Verbessem twins’ stories move me, I don’t know what the right answer is. In the later part of January 2012, I lead my family in the decision to place my mother into hospice care. I sat with her daily for two weeks until she died of natural causes. Would it have been easier for my family if we had the hospice doctor inject her with something that would have ended her life sooner? Nine months later I watched cancer end my father’s life. I had watched cancer slowly kill him for almost three years. If we had the option to ease his suffering sooner, would we have? My parents were terminally ill. There was no fixing them, no magic pill; but there was suffering, sadness and death. And to my surprise, there were also tears of happiness. There were stories told. There was laughter. There were comforting touches. There was love. There was family bonding and unity. My family was showed the blessings that life and death can teach you.
Today, I watch our society’s flippant attitude toward abortion. It’s no big deal. It’s easy. The fetus baby is just a bunch of tissue isn’t it? As our country crawls closer to socialism, will legalize suicide be next? Montana, Oregon and Washington already have some form of it. As national healthcare drains our economy, euthanizing will be financially advantageous. This is a very emotionally charged subject. I agree and disagree with points on both sides of the subject. All I know is that if my parents would have been euthanized, I know I would have missed out on so many precious moments in the minutes, days and months before they died.
Watch Bailing Out here:
Read about Lucian’s story here:
Read about the Verbessem twins here: