Flowers in France.
At A Healing Spirit, I work in that space that approaches the intersection of Life and Death. I make products to help people who are grieving and others that support those intent on healing, many from potentially terminal diseases. Working so close to the concept and reality of death isn’t for everyone. But my path has led me here and I embrace the learning that goes along with accompanying people on difficult journeys.
But today, I’m talking about a tough and controversial topic. Legal euthanasia. Human, legal euthanasia.
What comes after life is a big ???
The recent Afterlife Conference–my third–again put me up close and personal with the idea of death. Although my strong belief is that there is an incredible amount of “more” awaiting us after this life, I’m pretty much like anyone else. Life here is what I know and all the rest? It can’t be ‘known’ till I get there and that is a little scary.
No, I don’t believe there’s a wise old guy with a beard sitting up there in judgment and that we’ll all be floating on clouds if we’re “saved” and sent to burn in the fires of some Hell if we’re not. I think it’s simpler and more complicated than that.
Many, many thousands have reported on near-death experiences and their experiences are eerily similar, regardless of cultural background. Oh, sure, materialist science likes to come up with reasons those must be the crazy firing of neurons in a dying brain and body.
But that’s not what the evidence shows.
Still, what’s next is a mystery and few of us are anxious to hurry it along. Unless….life becomes unbearable in the most horrific of ways.
The question of legal euthanasia
On the plane back from France I saw a documentary on retired footballer Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS. it’s a horrific disease which robs victims of speech, movement and more –like breathing without mechanical assistance–but leaves a functioning brain that has to work hard to communicate with others. And of course, there are so many people coping with unspeakable pain, unbearable pain, horrible infirmities.
Which brings me to legal euthanasia.
It’s a difficult subject. But again, it’s one of those things that I believe is up to the individual. Maybe I wouldn’t have the nerve, myself, but then again, I haven’t suffered the kind of pain that would lead to such a decision.
But it’s a personal decision, not something to be mandated. In general, I don’t believe we have the right to take a life. Not an individual, not the state, not the nation. My complicated and highly personal views on abortion have evolved over the years, too.
But is it really so unspeakable?
But an adult choosing to end their pain and suffering is something I can understand and maybe it’s time we talked about it out loud.. Most humans, if they let go of dogma, would likely understand, as well. An attorney who helped a client prepare for legal euthanasia spent some time talking with me at the conference in Portland, the first time I’ve ever had a real-time discussion with someone about the Oregon law permitting euthanasia.
We’re not a society that works well with nuances, in general (note our president), but this is definitely a nuanced topic. It’s one that I’d love to hear your thoughts about, below. But first, I’d love for you to read this:
A New York Times story HERE about one man’s decision to end his life captured my heart and I think it’s worth reading. If the link fails, simply Google John Shields New York Times. Thank you.