Words, words, soothing words
Words, words, soothing words -- lull us into that final slumber, from which no one returns. As we slip slide down the road to Utopia, they lull us with soothing words.
Listen everyone -- death is your friend. Death is nothing to fear. DO, by all means -- go gentle into that good night. Do NOT rage against the dying of the light. No, my friends, the better part by far is to go peacefully, radiantly, with state and public approval. She did her part, they'll say. She died the way she wanted to live. What a noble, fine, dignified and peaceful death. And we can all go to sleep, our own "Living Wills" tucked safely in our desks, firm and snug in the knowledge that a nasty death, or a painful death, or a lingering illness will never claim US -- because we have conquered suffering -- with death. We have conquered the final chapter of life with a document called "A Living Will", a "Will for the Living". Let no suffering be endured. Let no illness betray us. Let no disability stand in our way of achieving the perfect lifestyle. And if it dare intrude, well then my friends, make your Living Will, and welcome death. Will away sickness, will away disability. Will away the hard decisions. It has all been made so easy. You can get a kit. All you do is fill out the forms. Yes, by all means, insure yourself against grief -- make that Living Will, and hold it as you would a cross before you in the face of suffering, or a talisman to protect you from all ills. It is your last best hope.
Only she didn't die the way she wanted to. Let's be frank. She was murdered by the withdrawal of life-sustaining food and water. Even Christ was given a sponge-full of vinegar. While Terri was forbidden a wet washcloth on her parched lips. And she did not go gentle into that good night. She showed at the end that she wanted to live, she fought valiantly, she survived for 14 days without a drop of water or a morsel of food. And she was denied in the end, even the comfort of her family by her side in her final moments. How does anyone, even those who sincerely hold the view that Michael Schiavo was acting in her best interests, deny that this was a cruel and unnecessary final act of disrespect and ultimate control by a controlling spouse. A final act of cruelty, in a long line of acts of inexplicable cruelty.
But why talk of such unpleasant things? This is what she wanted. The sacred bond of husband and wife has been honored. The sacred rule of law has been observed. Armed guards and burly policement protected her from those misguided family members who wanted to love and care for her in what remained of her natural life. Let us not forget. Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill. She was disabled. She was brain-damaged and mentally and physically impaired. She would not have died had she not been denied the basic necessities of food and water.
This is not an "end of life issue" as Governor Bush proclaimed today. Even he does't understand it and is lulling us with soothing words. Not for the legislature to clarify the law and to ensure that such a tragic miscarriage of justice cannot occur again. Oh, no -- according to the Governor -- we must all examine our own hearts about these painful, but inevitable, "end of life issues".
But let us not engage in recriminations, my friend, for there is much blame to go around. But what is really frightening is that we have set upon an irrevocable path to voluntary and involuntary euthanasia -- to "good death". It's all for your own good -- hush -- never fret -- it's a peaceful, even euphoric way to die. I'll remember that next time I see a news report on the famines in Africa.
At least in Holland, they aren't hypocritical about it and call it what it is -- and give the person a humane injection, as you would an animal or a pet. But we want to have it all. We want to pretend that we are dealing with "end of life" issues, when instead we are eliminating the helpless and disabled among us who have been judged unworthy of life. We want to say that Terri was "allowed to die with dignity", when in fact she would still be alive and responding, however minimally, to her parents, had she had food and water. She might have enjoyed the kisses of those who loved her and wanted to care for her. She would have felt their gentle touch. She would have heard their soothing voices. She would have felt the sunshine, so cruelly denied her by her "loving husband" Michael, on her face. She would have been loved. And in the end, my friends, that's what it's all about.
Eternal memory to Terri and all those forgotten and unwanted ones like her. There are those who will not forget her, or the example of her tireless family, who labored -- and suffered -- for love.
As Dante said at the end of the "Divine Comedy":
L'Amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.
The love which moves the sun and the other stars.