Dignified death

Dignity
ˈdɪɡnɪti/

noun
1. the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.
“the dignity of labour”

2. a composed or serious manner or style.
“he bowed with great dignity”

3. a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect.
“it was beneath his dignity to shout”

There is a truth universally acknowledged which connects all human beings, and that is the truth of death. It is the one thing that whether rich or poor, black or white, prepared or not, will come for us all.

It doesn’t really ask us if we’re ok with it, nor do we usually have the choice as to when it happens.

*

I can imagine that many places around the world today are debating the necessity or right of euthanasia. I know it’s quite a hot topic here in Melbourne, but I am unsure as to how the whole world is talking about it.

Now, before I get into it please understand this isn’t an attack on people who do support it – I can very easily understand why you would want a person you love to no longer suffer, especially as they draw near to death. Personally, the endurance of pain only proves how strong and brave someone is. And I suppose this is where my hindrance comes from – how does suffering and pain strip one of ones dignity?

From a young age I was taught that every human life is valuable and worthy of dignity. It is an inherent right we have as human beings.

Whilst I agree that intense pain and suffering are, especially for those who are dying, horrible, and things one should never have to endure, I won’t ever be able to say that because of pain, because of suffering, someone has the “right” to die, or someone is now without dignity. If that were the case, our population would most likely be zero.

Because who hasn’t suffered? Who hasn’t been in pain? And if we were to allow those with immeasurable pain to die, would that include depression sufferers who at their lowest point are in too much pain and want to die?

There are many people in my life who have suffered from depression; few who wanted to die and one that did. And I can honestly say that even though he had been in so much pain, I would never have wanted him to have the option of assisted death. Every scenario I would’ve wanted him to persevere.

I’m aware that the arguments for euthanasia are predominantly for those who are terminally ill, however many people who are suicidal would think of themselves as terminal, in the sense that it no longer seems viable for them to live and they can no longer endure what they’re going through.

Dignity

At the end of the day I think it depends on how you view dignity, pain, suffering and death.

I see pain as having been around since the dawn of time. It is a part of life no matter what stage of life you’re at; from the first childbirth to the first death, humans have endured physical and mental pain with great strength, and will continue to do so. Yet none of them (I would say) were undignified for it.

I feel as though we are encouraging a society to be afraid of pain and suffering when we shouldn’t. Like death, it is a part of life and surely a death ending in pain will not wipe out a life of beauty, dedication and hard work. It’s not ideal and it is most definitely not deserved. In that situation I know I would do everything I could to prevent my loved ones from their angst, but surely our dignity does not die because of suffering and pain?


Thank you! Hopefully I made some type of sense and got my confusion about pain, suffering and dignity across – I would love to hear more about why it should/shouldn’t be legislated and the pros and cons for it. This is purely an opinion void of stats and what not, so I would love to learn more! Cheers 🙂

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