Two posts in one day. This one has some rather heavy stuff in it. It may well be upsetting for some, so please proceed with care.
One of the big headlines in today’s paper was the story about the little boy who has been allowed to die.
A seven year old boy was finally allowed to die after a lifetime of an amazingly painful disease. The boy’s mother devoted her life to caring for her wee boy. As if it wasn’t enough, the boy’s older sibling died from the same disease, and to cap it all off, the boy’s father apparently stated that he wanted nothing to do with his care or upbringing. This leaves me with such incredible love and respect for this mother.
“You always want the best for your children. You just want to be able to pluck the disease out of them, just remove the disease. Out of love, you want them with you, out of love, you want their pain gone.”
What this comes down to is the idea that sometimes there are things worse than death. Sometimes, death is a blessed relief. But sometimes, death isn’t the answer. As the mother said, you want the pain gone.
This came to me not so long ago when my mother tried to take her own life. Here’s a brief summary:
- Grew up with an abusive father;
- Dealt with an abusive brother-in-law;
- Husband who emotionally and spiritually crippled her;
- Fell into really poor health, alcoholic and chain smoker;
- Separated and eventually divorced;
- Gave up drinking almost straight away, and later gave up smoking unassisted;
- Regained health, walked everywhere, and found her strength;
- Major surgery – came out of it fine and well
- In mid-70s, had second major surgery – partially paralysed and flaccid bowel
Now, I know many people put up with much worse, but for my mum, this was devastating. After finally regaining her sense of self, it is taken away again, with no hope but gradual deterioration, and vascular disease making her almost blind. She tried to take her own life because she could see no future. But in reality, what she really wanted was all the bad things taken away.
She asked me, before her attempted suicide, whether I would be ashamed of her if she did so. I categorically said “No”. I love my Mum dearly. I don’t particularly want her to die. But more than that, I don’t want her to suffer.
My point in all this is that it is really pleasing to see that death is regarded as a viable alternative to … well, life isn’t really the right word for it.
The case has finally been able to be reported, but almost all the details are still subject to a suppression order. But whether she ever knows of it or not, I want to take this opportunity to give my utmost respect and great love to the mother of this boy. She has shown such amazing strength.
It is always important to remember that life finds a way. That when we can’t see any way forward, sometimes we just have to hang on, and get through the next minute, next hour, and the bad will pass. But in cases like this, where there is no future but one full of agony and absent of dignity, death isn’t such a bad chap after all.