I was in the car with my little boy this evening after dropping a friend home. Little did I expect that the 6 o’clock news on the radio would spark such a challenging conversation…
I wasn’t really listening – my mind was on other things. I was due to go out to work later on, and had to go to a meeting about a Brownie sleepover before then. Family life, eh? When my son started questioning what he had heard, I realised we had quite a discussion on our hands. “Why did he choose to kill himself?”
Why would he kill himself?
My faith leads me to believe that when we enter the spiritual world in the afterlife, we face up to what our lives have been like in this world. We think about the sort of person we have been, and what has motivated us. Do we like doing things for the benefit of others, or are we more centred around what suits us and those around us? Do we enjoy making others happy before thinking about ourselves? Are we able to put ourselves a bit further back in the queue?
I remember talking to my Mam about suicide when I was a teenager. I didn’t know at the time that a close friend of hers at university took her own life, and that this was probably why my Mam didn’t finish her course. I remember her telling me that we still face what has been troubling us when we reach the spiritual world. It does not all magically disappear. We need to work through issues such as this before finding our place for eternity. So, suicide isn’t necessarily an easy option.
No other way out
I can’t help but feel that people who commit suicide truly cannot see any other way out. Their mental state is so troubled that they are unable to think about the effect that this will have on their friends and family. If they were able to reason, they would realise that by taking their own life, a big hole will be left for those they have left behind. They must be beyond this reasoning or they would not do it.
I find assisted suicide a difficult area. I feel that science has brought us so far that we try to “save” everyone. If we don’t have a belief in the afterlife, I can see why we would want to keep people alive for as long as possible, even when all quality of life has gone. Doctors are so scared of being sued for letting people die that their hands are tied.
What is your opinion?
So, what if a person with a terminal illness is in terrible pain? What if the only option is palliative care, and their quality of life will diminish rapidly? Do you feel that there is ever a scenario when someone with this sort of future should have a choice as to when their life here ends?
I don’t feel in a position to make that judgement. I only hope that if I, or someone I love, is terminally ill, in terrible pain, and unable to make choices about our life, we are not kept alive for purely natural reasons.
If you wish to talk to someone about the issues raised here, please contact MIND here or ring 03001233393
Alternatively, contact the Samaritans or ring them on 116 123
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