Killing For Compassion

Daniela Siggia 

03/28/05 "ICH"
- - Is society ready for the responsibility of euthanasia? If compassion includes dehydrating someone to death, I've got to wonder! Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with euthanasia per se. I'm undecided on the issue. 

Personally, for public record, if I should be vegetative or in serious torture, please kill me. But do it nice. Don't say you love me then force my last hours to be complete deprivation. How barbaric! Stick me with something beautiful, like Opium or Heroin. Give me a little hit at first just to make it sweet. Then maybe play some Kirtan to help me gently go out of body and pray with me a minute. Then juice me up and send me to God in earthly/bodily ecstasy. If my last months/years are so bad, you think killing me is the only loving thing to do, then make my last moments on this beautiful ride on earth remarkable. Either way you are about to kill me, at least be nice about it.

Many years ago, a friend of mine died of AIDS. His last years were rough, and last months depraved, but he just wouldn't die. Out of desperation we prayed that God would take him. This one, it felt like, God threw at us as an experience to unravel in many dimensions. No one was really arguing about the choice to help him on his way, but the doctors insisted it be by dehydration. His partner of forever, and only love, was absolutely tortured at the thought that as much misery as he was already suffering, complete with brain parasites, it would be compounded with the hell of dehydration. Ultimately dehydration and overdose achieves the same end, so why not pick the painless route especially since no one was asking the doctors to be the ones to do it?

Not only did the doctor refuse to look the other way, they watched all visitors to make sure no one else did it. They dissuaded anyone from giving any water as we were all reminded that it would only prolong his agony. 

It was bad before they suspended hydration, but after.... He was shrivelled up in a fetal position. A thick, putrid yellow puss like film lined his cracked lips. His mouth was always open, with his tongue protruding, his throat gurgling like a silent beg for mercy-or water-no one was sure. That same yellow puss like substance had dried and crusted his eyes shut. It took him four days to die. He looked like a dry leaf. 

Terry Schiavo is an incarnated angel that has offered herself up as a mirror. In Italian, Schiavo means slave, and that is just what we have done to her. If we are just going to complacently sit by and literally watch this woman shrivel up and die, at least let it not be in vain.

Let's talk about the issue. Not decide who is right, wrong or the most loving. Let's get a gauge on where society-not judges-stands on the issue. It worries me that the only opinions I hear are from politicians, celebrities and activists. Let's face it, families may be too close to the issue to decide as well. Like I said, if I was her, I'd want to die. My mother, I know, would never let it happen. You would have to hit her with a stun gun just to get in the room. 

I'd like to get the opinions of my fellow citizens. I think a referendum should be done in demographic groups. For example, I'd like a poll taken from people currently living with a progressive/terminal illness. A poll on family that have lost a loved one to degenerative disease. How about a poll done on people who have assisted a euthanasia and ask if they'd do it again. I would also be curious to see what the followers of various religions and non-believers really feel regardless what their leaders tell them to think. We should all get a say, because it has the potential to affect us all at one point or another. 

I don't believe the question should not be limited to whether it should be allowed or not, but if we do allow it, if we are going to kill and call it compassion, then we should be doing it compassionately. Also, where do we draw the line?

Are we ready to make sure that compassion won't lead to population control, or some sinister Hitler type 'cleansing.' Do we start 'euthanizing' untreatable paedophiles, serial killers or criminally insane? What about children born with severe disabilities, will we rationalize it then too? Are we going to become so desensitized that morality flies out the window eventually? 

We must stop baby stepping around the issue and dissect every aspect of it, as inevitably, it will come up. Shouldn't we all decide on this before someone else has to suffer another martyrdom to bring light to the issue. This is more than just right or wrong, live or die. Do we wait for someone to be so bad off that suicide is their best chance at release? If someone is going to kill themselves anyway, should we do it for them, to spare them the karma that comes with suicide? Then again, does the person committing the act take on the karma? Who has the answer?

Personally, I believe there is no answer. I believe this is an issue we use as a gauge to see where we are on a higher evolutionary perspective. So lets do that then. When we know what everyone thinks and believes, we at least have a place to start.

We must commence an open dialogue in regards to the entire issue, to try at least to figure this out, for all our sakes, and for the sakes of all we love, because you never know... 

Daniela Siggia is the author of 'For The Love of Self'. Email -

Copyright: Daniela Siggia

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