November 7, 2014

Brittany Maynard Has Made Me Think

Suicide is wrong. It's selfish, the easy way out and might even be an unforgivable sin for which you will surely be damned to Hell.

Those are all things I used to think.

But that was before....
  • I started reading the personal blogs of people who fight depression,
  • I witnessed many celebrities take their own lives, and
  • I began to see my husband's illnesses taking such a big toll on him.
I understand much better now how hard depression is on a person. I also understand now that one can be so physically ill that they might as well just let go.

Not that my husband is at that place. Don't worry, I'm not saying that.

What I am saying is that I think I can see the possibility of it all becoming too much, and therefor, I can understand how Brittany Maynard came to her decision.

Mark has told me he doesn't think he would ever go there. For the most part I believe him. I believe he intends to squeeze ever last drop of life out that he can....

But what if? Often we really have no idea how we would handle a situation until a set of circumstances is thrust upon us.

Mark can say now, today, that he would never feel the need to end his own life. He has a lot of medical problems, yes, but he also still has quality of life on his side.

What if he lost the quality? What if every single last thing became a struggle?

From my perspective, many things in his life already are a struggle, so I actually can see the possibility of it getting too hard.

And I wouldn't blame him if he just wanted to stop.

Part of my spiritual beliefs include the idea that our souls choose the human experiences they want. I believe that Mark's soul is learning things from this journey. As am I. As are all those who know and love him.

That belief led me to feel that if being sick is part of a soul's journey, then the person needs to ride that out, experience it, including, if it came to that, death from said illness. I have held the belief that it's ALL a part of the human experience.

And furthermore, that taking matters into your own hands -- ending your life yourself -- even if you are terminally ill, is not the right thing to do (for the sake of your soul).

Even if you're going to die anyway, I thought, it's still suicide.

I don't know anymore. I'm not sure there is any value in prolonging the suffering of a human being.

It's already difficult to watch my husband's health deteriorate, to watch him fight to keep some of the independence and dignity he once had.

It breaks my heart. Daily.

If it gets worse....?

As much as I never want to lose him, I think now, if he ever changed his mind about continuing the battle, I could wrap my mind around it.

With one caveat: I don't know if our children would understand.

Brittany Maynard didn't have kids. Could she have purposely left them? Could a child comprehend such a decision? Would they be able to make the distinction between dying with dignity and suicide? Would they think they're dad didn't want to be with them anymore?

I hope with all my heart Mark's journey never comes to this. I hope when his time comes, it will be clear, not ambiguous.

Either way, I know that all people who battle illness are brave, and that making that sort of decision is brave too.

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