Thoughts on dying/death

Often when I speak to medical professionals about my views on death they are very surprised  and exclaim ‘you are very black and white about that.’ I realise my views on the subject  differ to that of many other people, and they have done since I was a young child. I don’t know if this is partly due to my autism, or just my own weird take on things, so I thought I’d ask on here what other people’s views on death/dying are. To give you a flavour of my views, here are some of my comments on the matter:

I think that we all die so we should get used to the idea sooner rather than later and that’s it’s not worth worrying about as it is inevitable. I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. Further, if I was to fall terminally ill I would refuse treatment as I believe in letting nature take it’s course - after all, natural selection has worked well for thousands of years, so why mess with it? If I died prematurely due to illness I would just see it that this was meant to be. This is why, despite being in my early 20s, I have already requested a do not resuscitate to be in place (also, I kind of view CPR as a form of physical assault - having seen it done to others, I certainly wouldn’t want it done to me!) and I said I wouldn’t want a blood transfusion when I had surgery. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to refuse all medical input and I am very thankful for some of it, but I do draw a distinct line between what I consider acceptable and not.

My grandma is currently in a nursing home with dementia. She literally asked my mum and me to smother her, and she just wants to die because she is no longer able to live at home and do what she enjoyed. The home said she was depressed and tried to medicate her for it. They gave her a medication they new would increase her appetite as she was refusing food. I ended up arguing with them over it, explaining that my grandma wasn’t mentally ill - her thinking was perfectly logical and if I was in her position I would feel the same way. My grandma is very like me, and is very pragmatic about death also, and she hid the tablets rather than taking them, so that demonstrates what she thought about it! Maybe I was wrong to argue with the home, but I honestly couldn’t understand why they were trying to get her to feel different and eat more, as this would only prolong her suffering (aka life) and she just wanted to die! I think that keeping people alive at all cost is truly immoral and if they didn’t ask for it personally, it is selfish of those who did.

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend anyone with my views, and I certainly don’t expect others to comply with them. I respect everyone’s views and I know this is a difficult subject for some. I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks like me about death, or if I’m being obscure on my own here! Some may put it down to my current depression, but as mentioned I’ve thought like this from a very young age, so it appears intrinsic (maybe inherited from my grandma!).

Parents
  • I agree with pretty much everything everyone else has stated. I believe that everyone should be given the choice to assisted suicide if they are in a position where their quality of life is severely affected.

    I also find it extremely hypocritical that someone with a terminal illness is prevented from dying with dignity and is forced to live on as a shell of a human being, and yet an unborn child can be terminated before even getting a chance at life.

  • I also find it extremely hypocritical that someone with a terminal illness is prevented from dying with dignity and is forced to live on as a shell of a human being, and yet an unborn child can be terminated before even getting a chance at life.

    I’ve also struggled with that one myself. It seems illogical after all - you can end the life of a child that has no say in the matter, but not of an adult even if they request as much and have a good justification for it...nonsense.

  • I agree with what you are both saying but the principle behind abortion isn't that it's necessarily judged on the merit of ending the life of the fetus, rather that it's often judged on the merit of the mother's health / body / needs / choices. It's not entirely comparable to euthanasia.    

  • I’m trying to understand what you mean there about it not being entirely comparable - to me, both are about the health/body/needs/choice of a person, but abortion is legal and euthanasia is not, and that isn’t logical to me. I know that in the case of abortion the decision of one life (the baby) is commonly being based on the effects on another (the mother) and this is not so with euthanasia (though the effect on other people’s lives are often considered too), but surely other than that such decisions are based on similar factors. So why is one allowed, and one not?

    Sorry if I’m not explaining myself very well and for not understanding what you meant, please do feel free to elaborate.

  • You make a good point, although my issue is more with 'choice' aspect of it all. For example, a mother can choose to end the life of her unborn child because the child would have to live with a debilitating illness. But the same mother couldn't choose to be euthanised because they have a debilitating illness.

  • Well that is what I meant really, that abortion is more often a decision based on someone else's needs (the Mother's) whereas euthanasia is always (in every case I've heard of) based on the needs of the person themselves. (Both of which I agree with.) 

    Abortion can also obviously be based on the child's future health prospects, as is often the case, but that decision is taken from the Mother's perspective and ultimately by the Mother. I firmly believe women should have the right to decide and to choose what happens to their own bodies and that includes a fetus up until the gestational period at which it's considered a separately, independently viable life. 

    Before that time, an abortion is considered a medical procedure (on the Mother) rather than the ending of a life (because it doesn't legally exist yet) so it can't broadly be judged on the same basis as euthanasia. So (to answer @grendalsbane too) abortion from a legal point of view isn't generally concerned with the choice to end a life but more often with the choice to consent to a medical procedure. 

    DISCLAIMER: The ins and outs, rights and wrongs, and all of the various moral and ethical points of view surrounding abortion clearly mean that this is a thorny subject for many people but I'm deliberately not getting into all of that here. I'm merely stating that the broad legal stand on it, in this country and at this time, makes it "not entirely comparable to euthanasia".        

  • Thank you for explaining, that makes more sense to me. I didn’t mean to imply that abortion shouldn’t be legal, but more that euthanasia should be and I didn’t understand why it isn’t when compared to the choice that could be made regarding life with abortion, but you have answered that eloquently here (in terms of abortion being considered a medical procedure, not the choice to end a life). 

Reply
  • Thank you for explaining, that makes more sense to me. I didn’t mean to imply that abortion shouldn’t be legal, but more that euthanasia should be and I didn’t understand why it isn’t when compared to the choice that could be made regarding life with abortion, but you have answered that eloquently here (in terms of abortion being considered a medical procedure, not the choice to end a life). 

Children
  • Sorry! I didn't mean to sound combative about it! I was going more for 'emotionally un-involved' and trying hard not to upset anyone in the process by just sticking to the facts as I understand them. Phew!! It can be a minefield sometimes trying not to say the wrong thing (Or is it just me overthinking everything again?). 

  • You’re fine Endymion - I wasn’t upset by anything you said, I was just trying to clarify what I meant myself. Sometimes I find that on here people can pull the wrong interpretation from what you say, as we all process things from our own viewpoint of course, so I thought it best to clarify.

    I thought you tackled the subject well, as you say abortion is a sensitive subject for many and I think debating it as an issue could go on forever (which is why I also avoided going into that).

    I constantly worry about what I say, and I’m always concerned that I might upset someone with my comments, but I just try to be me and hope nobody hates me for it! I always enjoy reading your comments though and often I agree with them myself, so please don’t worry about saying the wrong thing where I’m concerned.