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October 04, 2009


Gene Smith

I tend to get a little "Pauline zealousness" concerning these kinds of questions, and my first thought is, I'm glad Jesus didn't decide to end His suffering a little early. Some may say "way harsh, Gene", and they're probably right, but I can't help but worry where this kind of thinking ends. What suffering is deemed worthy of ending early, and who gets to decide that? To say they were both dying anyway, well aren't we all dying anyway?

I don't want to be "heartless", and I can't say for certain how I would act in a similar circumstance, but as a Christian and follower of Christ, I can find nothing in scripture that supports this action. In fact, this action seems to me to be the ultimate lack of faith - "I don't think God can give me the strength I need to handle this suffering, so I'm just going to end it". Not only did she make that decision for herself, in what could be seen as an act of complete selfishness ("It's getting too hard for me to care for both of us, so what I'll do is just kill both of us then I don't have to worry about it anymore"), she made that decision for him - without knowing what his input on the subject would be (he may have been suffering from alzheimer's, but who is to say he was screaming in his head I WANT TO LIVE, but couldn't any longer communicate that?).

I guess, in the final analysis, while I understand the sentiment, I can't find justification for the act.

Jean Morris

Here's a comment on Gene Smith's comment. I have just read this book, too. Just having spent six weeks in medical hell, and with hope in sight, I found this book to be just what I needed to read. What is the difference in Ella's actions and the doctor coming out to tell the grieving family that it is time to remove the ventilator from their loved one? About the only difference I can see is that Medicare and the doctors didn't suck every last dime they could out of the system by prolonging this horrible agony. As I have gotten older, my arrogance in what is 'right or wrong' has changed greatly. Believe me, I want to live as long as I possibly can, but there does come a time when living isn't living any more.

Jstlookn Elliot

As a 76 year old woman in a wheel chair from M.S. I have lived with disability for many years. My husband has been on Dialysis for the past five plus years. We are both aware of the sands rushing through the hourglass and have discussed our wish to do 'whatever necessary' to avoid a nursing home.

Gene's comments were interesting, re: Jesus but remember, Jesus was no ordinary man. As we age and are suffering and KNOW what is ahead while we are still alive (neglect, pain, and the horror stories regarding nursing homes), the idea of meeting our maker sooner rather than later, seems like a viable idea to me.

I purchased a book called Final Exit, about thirty years ago. I also purchased a pistol about fifty years ago. I haven't found it necessary to use either one, but certainly feel better about having control over the ending of my life as does my husband. It's about choice...however, if what I'm reading about the current administration and health care, we won't have to worry as society sees us as a drain and useless so health care will probably be withheld.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book review and look forward to reading it.

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