DICHOTOMY — THE RIGHT TO LIVE, BUT NOT TO DIE | Timothy Joseph, Author | Writing The Best Books & Essays



Tick, Tick, Tick. But how many more? Just how many ticks of the clock we have is an unknown gift, yet with every one, it’s one second less we have to breathe. There comes a time when ‘time’ itself can become a point of strife. Why? Because if we are lucky, the ticks of the clock stop abruptly when we are close to the ending number; halted abruptly by any of a thousand ways with no hint of approach. But, if luck eludes us, the ticks get louder and louder and then painful to the point of despair, simply because the ticking won’t turn off when we want so badly for our clock to please stop.

Can we prepare, avoid the pain, and control the end? One can debate until out of breath the right or wrong of having the choice to stop the clock. As well, some would love to view the crystal ball of tomorrow to know when their clock is to stop, while others would dread that knowledge and would never want a peak at the end. Well, the debate and the view are equally moot, for neither can be, yet because there is no such thing as a clear crystal ball doesn’t mean we must ignore looking into a foggy one – they do exist.

So what about stopping our own clock–is it right or wrong? Can we decide for ourselves? Can I judge for myself? Can you judge? Religion pretty much says suicide is wrong, and the government certainly does. But why does it have to be suicide, why can’t it be “death by choice” instead.

The easy suicides usually hurt. If your car hits that lone tree the size of the Washington Monument surely there must be pain. But scarier than the pain is that you might not have been traveling fast enough or the airbag made you a paraplegic instead of a corpse – now there’s a risk not worth taking. Suicides become quickly identifiable, thanks to forensics, and of course we have to remember where we hid the pills.

I like to think that I’ll have prepared to do myself in when no longer living a valued life. But the problem is, when I reach that point, I won’t remember the method I prepared for. That means I’ll need a caring, loving, and understanding soul to help me, but that would make them an accomplice to murder, another risk not worth taking. So one is at a dead-end street (no pun intended). 

I wish someone would write some kind of law that would allow a person to declare in very precise descriptive terms at what level/quality of “living” and “near death” they wished to end their life, and allow a doctor to take care of that wish. What gives anyone any right over our life?

 Until that day comes (it’s a long way off–but it will come), we will see nursing homes with very old people hanging over their wheelchairs, unaware of who they are, where they are, and merely existing in a state of fog and delirium, while dribbling on the floor and soiling their diapers. How anyone can believe this is a “life” worth “living” is simply out of their mind. While the caring staff and nurses attend to their dying body (feed them, change them, and keep them clean), just what is being accomplished? Is it what that person wants? Clearly No.

It’s sad that our society demands we further demean and disgrace a loving soul day after day with the single purpose of–doing it another day. Yet this is the way of things, and all we can hope for is a “timely” and quick death. It’s a crying shame society forces us to die with no dignity whatsoever.

I just hope I can remember where I stashed the pills before society rips away my dignity. I am the only person having rights over my life. No society or person should have the authority to force me to suffer pain and indignity by keeping my useless body and unaware mind alive. If a horse can’t walk, it is put down; if a dog is hit by a car with no hope of survival, it is put down; just why can’t I be given as much respect as a horse or dog?

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