(Alliance for Life Ontario) – Loving each other even when it hurts is the only answer to suffering.
There are those who will tell you that allowing the killing of the suffering and dying, at their request, is a way of respecting their dignity as a human being and all so very progressive in a society that worships autonomy and choice… Well, that is one great big lie!
My brother, Seamus, is dying from the complications of colon cancer and while his death has appeared imminent for well over a week, he is not quite ready to give up this life. I have watched this before, more times than I want to count with my very close family members and had to lament every little downward spiral. Those who have walked this road with a beloved one will recognize very well what I mean. The hardest part of watching a loved one dying is actually to watch. To stand or sit by a bedside knowing that you are not able to do anything that seems of real importance, except to be there. However, being there is the greatest gift of respect and dignity that we can pay to each other in the hour of our suffering and death, even if it is the most painful for us.
My brother is in a small long-term care home, and I have watched the beautiful dance that patients and staff have been engaged in for well over a week now. The cheery morning hellos and the tender evening goodbyes in case the inevitable happens between shifts. The gentle yet strong way he is cleaned and tidied after each visit, the quiet banter and joking that occurs while he is changed and bathed which sometimes cause him distress and discomfort, yet all the while like mothers cooing over their little ones, the empathy and compassion shines right through every staff member attending him.
These are difficult days for those who love, because you spend the entire time with your heart ragged and your emotions raw as you watch your beloved go through moments of torment and suffering while you have to work and carry on as if it was all so normal… But, to suggest as euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates do, that killing a human being at any stage of this is respecting them, is a falsehood of tremendous proportions. In these moments the nursing staff step up to assist with the symptoms, the discomfort and the fears, consoling the patient and the family by their presence and caring. We watch as the medication takes effect and as in this case, my brother settles into a time of peace and relaxation.
I thank God for the moments when Seamus is so acutely aware of our presence, and I also thank God for the technology which allows me to be at his bedside all night while my sister gets some sleep, since I am in Canada, and they are in England. I thank God, that I can watch from afar the last moments of his precious life; the wonderful caring that the nursing and other staff have offered him while he travels the road from this side to the next. Being with, is the real gift we can give each other whether it is as a family member, medical staff, or as a society – showing each human being how precious their lives are that we can do nothing other than serve them in whatever way we are able, is the real humanity, the real dignity, and the real autonomy. Legalizing MAiD is the true abandonment – in which I am told Canada leads the world. What a sad legacy for such a young country.
To those politicians reading this piece, if you have ever believed that killing a human being is the answer – you are dead wrong. It is time we pulled the blinders off Canadians and started using the words that describe what MAiD really is: a medical and societal abandonment, a lethal choice, and a governmental economic decision, disguised as so-called personal autonomy. What is paying $300 for lethal drugs against the thousands of dollars that might be spent on patients who are dying anyway? Canadian politicians have provided universal killing via MAiD yet 70% to 85% of Canadians do not have access to the loving and respectful care that my brother is receiving! The saddest part of all is that there are medical staff, physicians, and nurses who will take part in this killing, possibly making them feel godlike I imagine – more like assassins in my book.
Canadian hearts have been hardened against those who need us the most. Their suffering raises our own fear of loss of ability; we do not even have the heart to be with them and watch because it causes us too much pain. Well, grow up Canada – this is what we do as humans for each other – we get the strength from somewhere to watch and wait, to lament and weep, to cry out for the loss but continue to hold and care.
It is ironic to me that I received the following (below) as part of a email communication from the organization Dying with Dignity, today, which is so dedicated to promoting medical killing under the guise of autonomy, and choice appearing currently to have the ear of Canadians. I find it repulsive that we as a Canadian society have lost our “brotherhood of man” ethic and adopted one of medical assassination instead.
“Dying with Dignity Canada – email Monday 28th November 2022
Here’s what we have planned so far — with details more to come in the next few months:
Actions, including letter-writing campaigns, for supporters to reach out to our elected officials directly about the end-of-life concerns and issues that matter most to them;
Independent polling to assess national support for Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law;
Research that supports and informs Dying With Dignity Canada’s ongoing education and support programs for those seeking to learn more about end-of-life choice; and
A mini-documentary to lead the public discourse on compassionate dying in Canada through human-driven stories.”
I ask for your prayers for our family as we continue to “be with” my brother and I pray that all people of good will, will be prepared to counter the 2023 death offensive which is being organized by Dying with Dignity. Alliance for Life Ontario will do our part, but it needs us all pulling together to end this killing in order “be with” each Canadian and their family during this tragic and heart wrenching time of loss.
Be Not Afraid.