Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Death and Dying

My father in law passed away on Saturday, November 6th. He had a stroke on October 5th and had been suffering for the past month so his death was a relief.

I remember when my father was dying I was shocked by the pure agony he had to go through before he died. The sense of total helplessness I felt to make his leaving easier for him. The desperate prayers that God would take him - would release him from the cancer that was so incredibly devastating.

If we had an animal in the condition that my father or my father in law were in we would put him to sleep. We would end the suffering humanely. Not only WOULD we do it, we would be EXPECTED to do it. We would be considered "humane" and "kind".

Yet we have to sit by the bedside of a human being and just let them linger in their pain, in their desperation to die. The fact that humane treatment is expected and demanded for an animal yet "unacceptable" for a human being just blows my mind.

Euthanasia is criticized as "murder" or "suicide". I have to believe that those who feel this way - who believe that euthanasia is wrong - have never held the hand of their father while he fought for a breath; while the pain was so all consuming he almost loses consciousness. I have to believe that those opposed to euthanasia have never sat in a dark room for days on end listening to the "rattling" of death - the unforgettable horror of listening to someone die.

Euthanasia should be a choice made by those that are dying; respected by those that are living and promoted by those that are alive today - because one day it may be you who lays in that bed asking someone - anyone - to end your pain.


  1. May he be at peace with God....My heart goes out to you, and my prayers are that you remember
    the good times and be there for those who are left, and lean on your friends when you need to.

  2. Most likely unless one has experienced what you have, this is all beyond their understanding. I believe you are right and logical in your plea. Perhaps one day the right person will lead the way to take away suffering like this and we can help and watch a loved one peacefully cross over. I hope you find relief in knowing that your FIL's death was just a brief moment in his journey and he loves you for knowing what is right.