Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On Death and Family Love

I usually want to keep my blog about issues related to my art and world development but something in the news has grabbed my attention because it hits so close to home.

This case of Terri Schiavo brings up lots of questions, I won't comment on the particulars of that case since there is more involved than simply whether she or her husband as next of kin should be able to make that decision. The question I'm concerned with is should someone have the right to end medical care for themselves or their next of kin or should everything be done to keep someone alive who is dying? I come down firmly on the side of patients and families deciding that question not the government.

January 2004 my grandfather passed away after a long illness. He was one of the lucky ones, polls say that 70% of people would choose to die at home while only 25% actually do. My grandfather died at home with my grandmother next to him and since everyone knew he was dying the whole family had a chance to say goodbye before the end. My grandfather could probably have been kept alive for a few more weeks but niether he nor the rest of my family wanted that. It was more important to him and us that he be at home surrounded by the familyhe loved than alone in a hospital hooked up to a respirator. Everyone dies eventually and we never can know how or when for sure, the best we can hope for is to be with those we love when it happens and if that means dying a few days or weeks or months sooner than I'd rather die sooner and happy than later and alone.

My grandfather was lucky and I feel sad that Terri Schiavo won't get that. Her parents and husband will be fighting until the moment she passes away rather than surrounding her with their love even if she isn't aware of them.
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