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Friday, March 25

The Will to Die

Why should any of us be required to defend our right to die by having a Living Will?

Who began this argument by assuming that all of us would want to continue to exist if we are in a persistent vegetative condition? I've asked this question before and I'll ask it again. Have you ever heard anyone say that they wanted to be kept on life support of any type for as long as they could? Maybe I'm off the beaten path here, but I have never heard anyone say that.

I mean think about it. We must defend our right to die so family members or the government won't force our other family members to bear the burden and expense of keeping our bodies alive long after our true life is gone. This is unreal. We are being told that if we don't have a Living Will we could very well be kept alive in some horrid condition. That's insane.

Yes, life is precious but we're all going to die one way or another. The fundamental idea of hanging on to what is basically a corpse is bizarre. To me it is comparable to having a loved one stuffed and kept like a deer head hanging on the wall. There is nothing there except the vessel of the person that once was.

When you visit nursing homes you see all sorts of people. Some are mentally spry but physically challenged. It's humane to help these people. But then there are others who are tied to the wheel chair and the face is blank. They appear to see nothing that happens in the hall or wherever they have been stationed for the day. Their mouth is agape and they wear a bib to catch the dripping saliva. The body, such as it is, is in the chair but the person is long gone. And, unless we have a living will, that could be us. Why? Well, they say no one wants to play god, and yes, that does include me. But wait just a second. Many people make these kind of decisions every day. If making life and death decisions is "playing god" then doctors do it every day when they remove a tumor or sew up a wound? No, they aren't playing god, they are doing what makes sense. And that's exactly what is missing from the right to live or die argument. There is no consideration for what makes sense. There is however an unhealthy selfishness on the part of a lot of human beings. Due to their selfishness, they are willing to keep even just the body of someone they love in a state of artificial life while at the same time turning a blind eye toward the indignity they are putting that person through. They keep them alive not because it is beneficial to their loved one, because it isn't. They keep them alive to avoid the pain of letting them go. They disregard the indignity of their act and instead hide from the pain the actual death would cause them to feel. That is selfish. True love is not selfish.

If anyone is "playing God", it may well be those who force life to continue even after death has occurred. When events that cause a human being to have no quality of life, rob them of their dignity and require them to be solely dependent on some type of artificial life system, the common sense assumption should be they would want to die unless their will states otherwise. So rather than require all of us to prove we would want to be allowed to die if we are in that condition, I believe those who would want to be kept alive should have to provide their own special Will of instructions. Why must we defend our right to die? Death is a part of life.

With the overwhelming requests for Living Will forms this past week, seems to me that most Americans are in agreement. They want to make sure they are not kept alive after they are basically dead. So again, why must we defend our right to die? Who is making the case against us?

If someone wants to be kept alive by artificial means as long as possible no matter how dire their physical and mental condition, require them to make their desires known and assume the rest of us have a will to die.

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