Friday, March 25, 2005

Of Mice and Men

I am not a catholic, but I find the whole ailing Pope thing interesting. Apparently back before the current Pope, the chuch used to deny the pope was even sick, and then he would just kinda disappear until the church announced he was dead and it was new pope time. Of course prior to the turn of the century people just didn't live that long, and they died of minor ailments. Now days they could keep an old sick Pope alive for a really long time, and there is no means for replacing a sick pope. If I were a Catholic that would bother me. Shouldn't there be some kind of Pope retirement if he/she becomes incapable of doing the Pope job? What if the pope were to be in an accident, or have a massive stroke and enter a persistent vegetative state? Would people fight over whether or not to keep a brain damaged Pope alive?

My grandfather had a series of massive stokes a few years back, which left him paralyzed and unable to communicate, but still alive. I remember going to visit him and thinking that he recognized me and was still at least somewhat mentally there, but he also looked as though he were terrified. He would try to speak, but couldn't and would never have been able to. It was an awful thing to know he was still there, but for all intensive purposes, gone. I also remember that Grandpa would never have wanted to live that way. He had been a strong independent man all his life and he never had any intentions of rotting away in a bed. Luckily the family agreed that this was not what he would have wanted and agreed to remove his feeding tube. He died quickly and gracefully and I am lucky to remember grandpa as I did growing up, and not as I saw him in that hospital bed.

The thing is that these are intensely private and emotional family decisions and it is a shame that the husband and the family of that poor florida woman can't agree. The greater shame though is that this womans dignity has been destroyed by the sensationalism of the media, and the involvment of the courts, the governor, congress, and the president. Unfortunately whatever happens now, that lady's loved ones have made impossible for her to ever die with any dignity.

Don't know why, but this issue always reminds me of the ending of Of Mice and Men and a discussion my english class had in high school about the definition of mercy.

1 comment:

mandy said...

Very well put. America has turned one family's private affairs into a media free-for-all where, for some strange reason that I can't even begin to fathom, it's okay for everyone to have a strong opinion regarding this very sad, private tragedy.

Whatever happens, there are many people out there who should be ashamed of themselves.