to live or let die

There is a LOT going on in German politics at the moment. We had elections back in September of last year but building a stable government has been a rather tedious task so far. We now have a coalition of the two biggest parties, CDU and SPD, but their opinions differ dramatically on some subjects. One of the highly discussed topics right now is wether we should allow medically assisted suicide in this country or not. Most politicians want to prohibit it, which makes me very sad.

I first heard about this on the radio at 6 am about two weeks ago and it gave me all the feels, because I do have a clear stance on this. I’ve seen a human being suffer from disease, not being able to do anything alone anymore, just vegetating and it shattered my heart into a million billion pieces. I felt helpless and I had to watch her slowly die.

The argument is that death shouldn’t be an easy answer to not wanting to live anymore. People should not get paid for helping others die. This I can get behind. Medically assisted suicide should not be a business in the sense that you can get rich off of it. One of the articles I read today mentioned how we should put more effort and money into taking care of our elderly people; of those with dementia and similar conditions; chronically ill and so many more.

We advocate not letting our pets suffer. We put them to death on a regular basis because making them stay alive would only cause them to suffer and I don’t understand why we can put that much thought into the lives of animals but not into our own? Letting a pet suffer isn’t decent but it’s the right way to go for humans? Think again.

I understand that it would be very difficult to define the boundaries as to who should be able to get help ending his life because sometimes it’s not that easy when you can’t get on top of a huge building or a bridge and jump; you need help, hence medically assisted suicide. There are people who can’t do that because they’re paralysed or whatnot. I believe there are medical situations in one’s life where at least having the option do die on one’s own terms needs to be available.

My Mom would never have done it. She believed she could turn her terminal cancer around until the very end and I admire that but it was also a way of coping – or not coping, since she was refusing to look at reality. It’s difficult to say how her growing brain tumor influenced her behaviour though. What I am saying is, that this whole debate makes me angry and I wonder if those advocating for improving medical care options ever had someone close to them vegetate. I wonder if they ever watched someone die, have seen them not breathe naturally anymore. They take big deep sighs every now and then and you expect each and everyone of them to be their last but it isn’t until one is.

Our society is getting older every year with fewer children and young adults around, medical care facilities do need more money, more funding but you can’t help each and every one of them. Imagine being paralysed from your neck onwards and not being able to do anything on your own anymore. You realise you’re a burden to your family, to the one’s you love; or even worse, there isn’t anyone close to you around anymore. Wouldn’t you at least want the option available instead of prohibited by your countries law? I know that I do. I’m 26, there is no way for me to know from what disease I may be suffering from during my lifetime but there should at least be options for me available. Safe options without having to break the law while still being true to yourself. Nobody says you have to use it or that it will be used extensively because people have different opinions on this matter. But taking away the option just doesn’t sit right with me.

Should we allow it, in whatever way, I don’t believe that every other person in this country would suddenly think “Oh, this sounds neat, I’ll just go end my life now”. No. But those with incurable diseases; those who know there is no hope left for them; those who are aware that the only way their health will progress is downwards – they will have the chance to die on their own terms instead of losing their dignity as they lose what even makes them a person.

I am by far advocating that we euthanise old people on principle, don’t get me wrong. Growing old doesn’t equal becoming less of a person but if you have nothing left to live for, your body is a hellhole, you should be able to do something.

It seems I have repeated myself enough in this piece and I’m sorry. I tried to express my feelings and opinions on this matter as best as I could. I do understand that medically assisted suicide may not fit into everyones worldview but I believe that we need to debate about this more openly.

 

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  • wlreed

    I have a lot of feelings on this subject myself because of some stuff going on here, but it’s all tied up with other things, also. I think you were very eloquent and agree with everything you said. I want to have the option to die with dignity. And I never want my family to be burdened by having to care for me, either emotionally or financially. Thought provoking piece.
    BTW, I love the new design. It’s pretty

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I just don’t understand how we can just say NO instead of trying to make this option safe for those less fortunate to use. Just because some politicians are too scared to talk about this. (Well, that’s just me guessing)

      Thanks, I didn’t change much but it was overdue :)