Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.


This is what they told me:


“When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness.”


Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!


So while I really don’t know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 


Yes, there is no light–there is only darkness. 


Yes, there is no Heaven.


But I don’t believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 


Instead, what I believe is that you “Go back to GO and you do not collect $200.”


In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 


Since you didn’t complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission…you go back to the beginning. 


You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 


Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 


Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 


So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 


I don’t know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I’ve already done. 


It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 


How is that for frustrating–working just to redo what you already did. 


Perhaps that is quite the measured “punishment” for those who end their life prematurely–before G-d says it’s time. 


While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again–I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 


I assume it’s nice to live again, but it’s got to be a value-add life–not just a do-over!


So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life–it’s probably not a purely rational moment in time–I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 


Because, suicide isn’t game over, but rather the game begins all over–from the beginning again. 😉


(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go–I am sure that is perfectly okay). 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I’m Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

babys-rights

People who know me know that I am a real feminist.


Lots of wonderful women in my life have been incredibly awesome and inspired me, starting with my beautiful mother, wonderful Oma (grandmother), my wife, and my lovely daughters. 


As I learned early on, girls can truly be “sugar and spice and everything nice.”


How society could have for millennia and in many places in the world still do today subjugate and abuse women is beyond comprehension.


– Women are not property!


– Women are not servants!


– Women are not to be used or abused!

Like all human beings, women are to be respected, treated in every way as equals, and loved and cared for as all G-d creations fully deserve. 


What about though the issue of the right to choose whether to have or abort a baby?

While I feel we need to fully respect women’s rights, I think we also need to consider the baby’s rights. 


Of course, where rape or incest is involved, or there are known serious birth defects that would make the child’s life painful or miserable, or when there is serious risk to the life of the mother or child, then by all means, the mother and father need to make a very difficult choice. 


Otherwise, we are duty bound to protect the child just as we protect the mother–these are G-d’s creations and not just for the choosing and taking. 


Life is life!  


Murder is murder!


It’s common sense to be pro-choice to minimize danger, pain, and suffering to baby and mother. 


It’s justice to be pro-life when baby and mother are blessed and well. 


Really, it’s no different than how we treat anyone else–for example, we need to allow physician-assisted suicide when the pain and suffering dictates this to be merciful, and we need to do everything to protect and save life when their is still ample hope. 


There is a time when a mother and father must choose and a time when the choice ultimately belongs to G-d. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disability Rights – To Life Or Death

Disability Rights - To Life Or Death

I read today in the Wall Street Journal an editorial by Joni Eareckson Tada–which I couldn’t have disagreed with more.

Let me start by saying that I have the greatest respect for Ms. Tada who is herself a quadriplegic and has overcome unbelievable challenges to become a huge successful author, radio show host, and advocate for disabled people.

Yet in the editorial, she rails against those with disabilities that choose death over life and the laws that would enable this.

She says, “first it was assisted suicide,” and now it’s unlawful birth suits after a child was born with severe disabilities that could have been genetically screened for, and an upcoming Belgium law that may “legalize euthanasia for children with incurable diseases–who, with the support of their parents or guardians, ask to die.”

Ms. Tada calls these out as some sort of incredible “double standards” vis a vis the “freedom and dignity that the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] championed”–she says that “instead of helping the disabled live full lives, new laws seek to help them die.”

While I appreciate her sentiments, I cannot agree with them–not everyone is Ms. Tada who decided she wanted to live and was able and fortunate to do what she has done.

This is a free country and people deserve the right to decide for themselves, making an informed and a well-thought out decision and with their loved ones, if they are too young, old, or otherwise unable to make the decision anymore for themselves.

Having seen the ravages of disability, especially with my own mother, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments, I cannot believe that anyone would try to force life on someone who has endless pain and suffering and wishes only for their final peace.

Ms Tada asks, “What type of society do we want?” She goes on claiming that “if we are seeking a good society then we do well to defend the rights of the helpless-not nullify their rights,” yet this is exactly what Tada is advocating by seeking to nullify their right to end their suffering.

If it amazing that people will “put down” a sick dying animal to relieve it of it’s suffering when it is beyond cure, but we don’t show the same mercy to fellow human beings when they are in the clutches of death and torment.

There is most certainly a time when it is enough pain, enough disability, when there is no more hope, and the most decent human thing we can do is free the person from their intolerable suffering.

Life is a wonderful thing if it can be lived, but if it is a living hell, then we should be merciful and let people go to their final resting place without the anguish that only they can ever really understand.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to GizM ()17)

From The Window In the Nursing Home

From The Window In the Nursing Home

I visit the nursing home pretty often to see my mom who is there.

While I try to focus on my mom and her needs, I do notice other patients there.

The images are deeply impactful on me…here are ten that are on my mind today:

1) The husband and wife who are both in the home in a shared room–the wife is wheelchair-bound and the husband dutifully pushes her around the floor. This weekend, I saw them together at the nurses’ station asking for some crackers. When the nurse came back with some individually wrapped crackers in cellophane, the couple took them and went off down the hall happy as clams.

2) The lady at the table who is overweight, but always asks for more food. She doesn’t talk much except to ask for more dessert. She stares at the other patients and seems annoyed and upset with them.

3) The guy who was a lawyer, but now has dementia, and sits and talks half to himself and half trying to engage others, but all that comes out is sort of gibberish. So others just nod or say something to politely acknowledge him, but can’t converse with him with any meaning.

4) The lady in the room who sits in a chair hunchback. She never seems to leave the room or the chair. Sometimes, she watches TV and other times appear to be crocheting. Mostly she sits hunchback, looking uncomfortable, but settled for the long hall like that.

5) The woman who sits outside her door in the hallway. She is in a wheelchair, and she doesn’t say anything, but she stares at you while you walk down the hallway. She sits there watching–sitting and watching.

6) The younger but still old disheveled guy. He comes into the dining room to eat, but gets food all over himself. He sits alone, always. He eats quickly, leaves half his food, and gets up and goes out while everyone else is still picking away at their food.

7) The lady with a wall of baseball caps. She has no hair, maybe she has cancer, I don’t know. She usually is in bed, sitting up. The caps look like they have a lot of meaning to her, but I’m not sure if it’s because she’s a sports enthusiast or why.

8) A lady in a wheelchair that pulls herself along down the hall. She puts one foot in front of the other in these baby steps motions, and the chair moves along, slowly, but at least she is mobile, somewhat.

9) This weekend, I looked out the window of the home, and there was a woman on the sidewalk. She had fallen on the ground, on her butt. Her walker was next to her, but she could not get up. Some people were near here, apparently trying to get help, but not wanting to touch or move her themselves. I ran for the floor nurse, and she came to the window to see. She said is that so and so, which meant nothing to me, and then she ran off to help her get up.

10) A lady sits downstairs by the glass windows–she is dressed up fancy like older healthy people are want to do. Next to her is an older gentleman in a turtleneck, but he is just visiting and is her son. They seem to be sort of wealthy as they sit upright in the high-back chairs and discuss family and what she’s been eating at the home. They look askance at some of the other patients who are crying out in pain.

The nursing home, like the hospital is a horrible place to be, even when you have to be there.

In both places, even the most caring doctors and nurses and attendants, cannot make up for the fact that you are a prisoner of age, failing health, and disability–and let’s face it, even if many are nice or attentive, not everyone is.

I am still unclear why people must suffer so–why we haven’t found a better way to end good, productive, and loving lives.

I am not sure that people are really even focused on this issue of old age, because it’s not sexy, it’s at the end anyway, and “they had the chance to live their lives.”

Maybe, it’s because we simply don’t have the answers yet, can’t afford what they would take, or we would just rather not deal with mortality, pain, and suffering when there are so many other things to do.

But one day, we all will face the piper–and it would be comforting if we had better answers.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)