Skip to comments.Opposing Assisted Suicide: Remembering When My Terminally Ill Mom Told Me “We’ll Get Through It”
Posted on 07/18/2014 8:36:48 AM PDT by wagglebee
Matthew Schellhorn, a highly-regarded classical pianist, has kindly given me permission to reproduce below his moving account of his late mother’s terminal illness and his insightful arguments against Lord Falconer’s assisted suicide bill, being debated at Second Reading today:
Living life to the full
When my mum was diagnosed with late-stage cancer she turned to me and said, We will get through it. At the time, I did not know what that could possibly mean.
Looking after my mum disrupted my normal life. Being her carer took away my time. It made me lose interest in music and endangered professional opportunities. It also dragged my pregnant wife and young son into a world of commodes, hoists, medication and round-the-clock worry.
But amidst the difficulties we all built our motivation on one solid belief, that life was something precious, something to be celebrated, cherished and affirmed. As mums health declined and the opportunities for normal life decreased, the possibilities expanded. We lived the paradox that when there are limits to life the freedom is greater. Mum also knew that positive experiences would sustain the bereaved left behind: that further altruism also gave her life some meaning.
I am so glad I did not have to discuss the Assisted Dying Bill with my terminally ill mother. I think that if my mum had lived to know about this Bill it might well have destroyed all our happy experiences. I think she would have been terrified to know that the same doctors so keen to see her enjoying life, even in a limited way, might be perfectly willing to help her to end her life, should she have so chosen. It would have destroyed the relationship of trust to know that there were no boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients. And it would have demoralised her carers, who together worked towards making life comfortable, to think that their efforts might be considered futile.
It would also have increased my mothers vulnerability. As she lay in bed for 23 hours a day in our living room I knew she was already self-conscious about the enormous strain put on us. Numerous times she took decisions about routine and food that she presumed would alleviate any difficulties in our family life. The sanctioning of that inclination, the condoning of any despair, might well tip the balance in favour of a fatal outcome ahead of further positive experiences. As I tried enormously hard to remove all suggestion that her presence was an unwelcome burden, there could have been an altogether more powerful tacit force undermining me.
Although it has made for uncomfortable reading, I have considered the arguments in favour of this Bill. Lord Carey and Desmond Tutu have given their reasons why it is compassionate to provide an exit door to the terminally ill ahead of their natural demise. The Care Minister, Norman Lamb, thinks people should be able to make their own decision about their life.
These ways of thinking contradict established medical ethics and fly in the face of all logic. The life of a physically sick person is worth as much as a physically healthy person. Importantly, the person in question gains happiness from experiencing that truth. Now that the dust has settled, I see we got through terminal illness, each in our own way. That is why I oppose this Bill.
LifeNews.com Note: John Smeaton is the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a leading pro-life group in the UK.
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Here is a truth that utilitarians of all political stripes CANNOT comprehend.
Our long experience with Liberal Fascism has taught us that what is voluntary now will soon become mandatory as long as their ilk remains in control.
In addition, his child got a thorough education in how someone REALLY loves and sacrifices for another. This is what will get them through life when their significant other or spouse gets cancer, when a child lays in a hospital bed needing your love, and when their own parents need that kind of support. Anything else is purest selfishness.
Since life itself is a terminal condition, at what point do we draw the line? Inoperable brain cancer? Tuberculosis? Dysentery? A headcold? Sure, you may recover from some of them, but all you’re doing is sending the Reaper round the block. Why fight Nature? Why have Medicine at all?
People who prey on the physically and mentally weak and try to manipulate them into killing themselves deserve the death penalty. It’s a disgrace that Philip Nitschke and his ilk are allowed to roam the land murdering the weak.
Author Mel Ellis has an interesting chapter in one of his books on the subject. I had a mom die from ALS and had some mixed feelings on the subject. After reading his real life experience and experiencing the courage of my mother to endure, We have no business meddling in God’s plans for others.
It is truly a liberating experience to see the joy in the life of someone who is terminally ill or has other conditions that limit their lives. And you also see that death is part of life. Something to be faced squarely and without maudlin sentiment but as part of a daily routine. That also is truly liberating; to deal with a dying person as a human being without some childlike hope that God is going to miraculously cure them.
These experiences make everyone involved stronger, more mature and more appreciative of life. Indeed, the person who wants to terminate a life because they aren't healthy and 100% fit is a limited, sorry spectacle.
Thanks for the ping!
God bless you and your mother for having the conviction and willpower to go through His trials. I knew a lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer which ended up being terminal. I highly respect how she wanted to get the most out of life before ascending to the Pearly Gates, rather than simply give up and leave the rest of her family in the dark. She knew that everything would work out if trust was placed in the LORD.
If the Romney supporters in 2012 had such conviction, we might be looking at a President Bachmann (or another Christian conservative) instead of a President Hussein.
Wonderful. Thank you for posting this.
Commander in the Navy. He has been stationed in our home town since my husband died. He has 28 years and gave up chance for advancement, so that they could take care of me. I have to do nothing but enjoy my days. I don't have the strength to tell all of the things that I have been able to do like dividing up my possessions and money. We are working on making a story of family pictures that go back into the 1800’s, I have traced our family roots back to 600AD, I have been able to have one on ones with my 7 grandchildren. Look up and renew old old friendships. I won't lie and say that I have loved every minute, like when I know the toll that it has taken on my family, but I look at my life as a win win situation. If today is the day, then I get to go to my heavenly home, or if not another day with my family and friends. A life not worth living, I don't think so. Living or dying is not my choice to make.
BTW your post was beautiful and described my life perfectly.
Disclaimer: 02 deprivation has left my spelling horrible and my participles dangling.
Well, that made me cry like a baby. Excellent article, wonderful son.
The right to die will soon become the duty to die. Then...Hello, Soylent Green!
Yes, thanks for posting.