Monday, October 22, 2007
“I have just asked the doctor to give me an injection that will make me go to sleep and not wake up. But he refused”.
This was said to me today by an 87 year old lady in hospital. She fell and broke her hip, and is in constant discomfort. Until now she has moved with a walking frame, but now might not walk again. Her husband of a 60 year marriage died last year. Her children live in countries that are far away from here. And she is tired of living. So she looked at me and explained that she has had enough of this life. She is not afraid of dying – in fact she would welcome dying as an opportunity to reunite with her husband.
So what do I say to her?
I am not going to offer platitudes about “feeling better in the morning” or some nonsense about God taking her at the right time. She is allowed her feelings without me adding layers of guilt. I held her hand and said that I know that God understands her feelings. And I prayed for God to give her peace....then I went to the hospital chapel and asked God to release her from life.
I do not presume to know if her life should come to an end. Who am I (or anyone else) to know when a person is ready to leave this life? But I do know that there is no merit in pain and suffering. I know that living a long life is far less important than living a useful life. And that this old lady ought to be allowed to leave this life at the time she desires.