Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Words, words, soothing words

By Aussiegirl

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.


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

And didn't he also say the worst punishment was reserved for those who refused to take a stand?
Edmund Burke said something similar, that evil will triumph if good men do nothing.
No fear for your soul, dear comrade.
Thank you for your passion and your dedication.

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Pindar said...

Aussiegirl, your words, the most beautiful and heart-felt words I've read anywhere about poor Terri and what has befallen her, brought tears to my eyes. Not only beautiful, but powerful in their cumulative effect. You write about how we fool ourselves into believing that something as insignificant as a living will can protect us from disability and death and all those cruel twists of fate that come upon us no matter how strong our "will" is. You correctly identify this as the first step on the famous slippery slope towards the elimination of all who are not "perfect" or "attractive" or "worthwhile". You fault Jeb Bush for calling this an "end of life" issue, which of course comes to us all--although being in effect murdered by the state doesn't come to us all. (Now I understand why the Hemlock Society changed its name to, I believe, the End of Life Society or some such toady words; "Hemlock" implies state-sanctioned euthanasia, as was forced on Socrates, but "end of life", why, we all end our lives, so let's not worry about the society's ultimate goals.) And what was particularly heart-wrenching was reading about what Terri was denied: kisses, the touch of a loving hand, sunlight on her face, and, as Earth's light was dimming and God's light was gradually filling all of space, the fading faces of those she loved and who loved her--not, as we learned, the hateful visage of her monster "husband". Yes, let us not forget Terri, poor Terri, and let us also not forget--or forgive--all those corrupt, evil ones who conspired to kill her. But then, having placed such monstrous, soul-less creatures in one of Dante's nethermost fires of hell, let us cleanse our thoughts--and our souls--with Dante's final words of love.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

When I wrote My Own faltering epitaph marking the success of Terri's murders I deliberately did not read anybody else before hand. I wanted the words I used and the feelings they portrayed to be my own. I am somewhat heartened to see what I felt reflected in your stunning piece. It was in many ways difficult to read because it points out an ugliness we have within ourselves that is unpleasant to look at and to know without doubt that WE did this.

Our society is inexorably crumbling and most of us will not be bothered to look into the mirror and see that we are the ones destroying it. Our own hands will put that rubble at our feet. Demonizing her un-husband may make us feel better about our own involvement or lack thereof, bur all of us have Terri’s blood on our hands. There are no innocent bystanders in this.

The responsibility is ours to make certain that Terri’s life and cruel death will not be forgotten or goes without a meaningful response. I have my own notions for how to do that. Each of us must find for ourselves the proper atonement for this heinous crime committed in Our Name and by Our Nation.

Thank you aussiegirl for another outstanding expose’. In addition thank you for renewing my faith there are some out there who understand exactly what has happened and what is at stake.

God bless

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Thanks for all these comments. To Mr. Morrison, thanks for the kind words and the reminder of what others have said about such a situation. To Pindar, how profoundly moving were your words, and when I came to the part about the light of the world dimming as the light of God filled all of space I completely choked up at the beautiful image. I'm sure this is indeed what happens. And thanks to TJWillms, for your heartfelt words. With Mr. Willms I would very slightly and respectfully disagree, there are many of us who did all they could, we used every avenue at our disposal to influence the situation, and to expose its true dimensions to a larger audience. Beyond that, you are right, that each of us must examine our own views on these matters, as dark and painful as they are, these hard decisions will be made at one time or other by us all -- either in our own case, or in the case of a loved one. But I feel no guilt, and I feel that there is much blame to be spread. That there are evil actors in this situation is beyond question, people who have actively sought Terri's death for their own nefarious reasons. There are those who tried -- and failed to help. There is only so much that can be done in a law abiding democracy. But somewhere, somehow, the slide to Gomorrah must be halted somewhere. As it is, we do what we can, we pray, we examine our own souls, and we take a stand in whichever way God has given us the power to take. I pray that Terri's death will not be in vain, and that some action is taken. As Mr. Morrison has said, all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing -- and a special place in hell was reserved by Dante for those who refused to take a stand. I believe that all true faithful Christians took a stand, and I do not think it coincidental that these events took place during Easter. More than ever I understand the heartbreak and pain of all the victims of evil regimes, as they struggled mightily against a monstrous machine that was inexorably arrayed against them. Such was the case with the Crucifixion of Christ. Therein also lies our hope.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

I think perhaps my point was missed. Please understand that I am not casting aspersions or blame on anybody. I have no right. What I was trying to say and perhaps did so badly was, short of leaving our comfortable homes and forcing our way past the guards to see that Terri was fed or to spirit her away to safety, did any of us really do enough? Putting ourselves at risk both physically and legally for something one believes in so strongly has a long tradition throughout history. I think many of us (myself included) have forgotten that and were unwilling to, “put our money where our mouth is.”

I am not advocating violence but a force of will on a scale that could not be ignored. Being a staunch advocate of “the rule of law” It does not come easily for me to turn away from one of my core beliefs. When that law so twists itself as to murder an abandoned innocent perhaps the law deserves to be abandoned. I did not have the will or the courage to go there. Speaking only for myself, I must honestly answer no; I did not do all I could do. Desperate times require desperate measures. America and I were not desperate enough to save Terri.

Most respectfully,


At 4:53 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Dear TJW -- don't be too hard on yourself -- we all do what we can. This may well have been a pivotal case that will have far-reaching implications which in the long run, will work for the good. In the meantime, we must keep up the good fight in putting the truth out there. That's why the internet is so powerful -- each of us has a voice in the marketplace of ideas now.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger dadahead said...

Why do you keep censoring me?

You are very mean.


Post a Comment

<< Home