|read the article here|
One of my vices is to read the British tabloid, Daily Mail, in its online version published for a USA audience. It's often factually shaky. It's always full of blood, gore, film stars' bad behavior, and assorted other things that generate the drive-by-the-car-wreck-and-look emotion.
That's one reason I don't know what to make of this story:
'I loved him too much to be selfish': The heartbreaking story of teacher, 24, who starved herself to death six years after she was paralysed... so he could move on
The facts, if true, would be these:
- A young man and woman meet and fall in love.
- Six months into the romance, the woman jumps into a swimming pool, injures her vertebrae, and ends up paralyzed to the point of quadriplegia.
- The young woman feels guilt, not only about her boyfriend but also about her need for care from her family.
- There are other issues she cannot reconcile in her mind.
- The young woman seeks help to accomplished an assisted suicide, without success.
- The young woman starves herself to death.
There is simply so much in this narrative that confuses a person like me—a person who has his own guilt because he needs personal care assistance, and a person who understands the point of suicide but opposes government-organized-and-sanctioned assisted suicide.
Much of the story seems to have come from the young woman's website, and there is one post in particular that reveals her motivation.
The single point not discussed is that this was, I suspect, an assisted suicide. A person paralyzed to the extent that she needs to be dressed, to be transferred from bed to wheelchair, to use the toilet or to bath would not be able to starve herself without the complicity of those who care for her.
And so, has her guilt become her family's guilt for acquiescing to her self-destruction?
I will never judge a suicide. My own motivations for intermittently considering that abyss have been petty and immature sometimes; other times they have been the product of guilt and anger, fatigue and hopelessness, self-pity and despair. Are those motivations very much different than most other suicides?
So why did I not choose death? The naïve would say a measure of courage, but that I would not claim. I know the coward who lives behind that badge of courage: he fears death, fears not being. It is a masquerade, this courage.
But fear of death can be overcome, no doubt. And so I will also say to live paralyzed and depended also requires a ridiculous bastard mating of acceptance and constant existentialist rationalization—and the quiet comprehension that ultimately we are left alone with God to find ourselves a reason to live another day.