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Changing the Landscape of Suffering

A 2012 Angus Reid poll found the following results: “ Canadians and Britons are more likely to voice support for doctor-assisted suicide than Americans, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. ”

In Canada the law prohibits aid in dying for the suffering and terminally ill.

What if someone told you that his or her personal experience was so much more pain and agony than he could ever have imagined — so much so that he indicated a wish to die? Alarmed, you might immediately want to get this person some help and call the authorities because you feared for his life.

It's too trite to cry "what goes around comes around", but quite likely you interact every day with individuals who suffered from abuse, neglect, deprivation, or cruelty. Unknown to you they may harbour unbearable retained memories. Over life, the pain has expressed itself through the body's appearance, condition and habits. We condescend with our get well gimmicks or call them lazy while unaware that these sufferers are not responsible for their imbalances. Communities rehabilitate individuals they've incarcerated because of unacceptable behaviours. But the outcomes of underlying circumstances and society's retributive unforgiving attitude weigh heavily on the prisoner who suffers for the long term. We cannot curtail some diseases that potentially affect vital organs without around-the-clock attention. Even adequate pain medication is not always present. Some people become desperate when their efforts for peace of mind and freedom from pain are 99.99% futile.

In Canada Dying With Dignity and four other similar groups provide support for any of its members who have incurable, terminal, physical diseases. It neither encourages anyone to end his or her life nor does it assist someone to die. The registered charity's Advance Care Directive (Living Will in conjunction with Power of Attorney) is a document instructing the family and medical personnel about the end of life decisions of the member. For example, this can be especially useful when communication has been lost. Life supports do not have to be left on, and the rights and wishes of the member are validated. The organisation promotes the own end of life health care decisions and believes “medically assisted dying with appropriate safeguards should be legal in Canada.

Life supports do not have to be left on …

Some US states, as well as China, support medical assistance of terminally ill patients' right to die.

If you want to die and would rather have someone kill you instead of doing it yourself, you can make a very expensive trip to Belgium where they legalised euthanasia in 2002. After consultation with a medical doctor(s), he will give you a lethal injection or an oral solution to drink and shortly after you will fall asleep. That country is also debating euthanasia for children.

In 2001 the BC Civil Liberties Association sued the Supreme Court stating that end of life decisions should be a provincial matter and not federal. Denying an individual with the right to die is denying the rights of the patient because death is part of life. This petition is still before the courts.

We know that mental anguish translates into physical and emotional pain — yet another factor which has initiated requests for changes in the right to die issue. Opponents who use the slippery slope argument most likely won't support a terminally ill person with hopeless unrelinquishing pain to exercise his or her right to die a gentle death. Would you? ©

“ If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death No death may be called futile.”— Yukio Mishima

“ What should move us to action is human dignity the inalienable dignity of the oppressed, but also the dignity of each of us. We lose dignity if we tolerate the intolerable.” — Dominique de Menil

“ The coming together of two laudable movements — death with dignity and cost containment — concerns me. Patients have a right to die. But do they have a duty to die?”— Mark Siegler

“ The acceptance of suffering is a journey into death. Facing deep pain, allowing it to be, taking your attention into it, is to enter death consciously. When you have died this death, you realise that there is no death — and there is nothing to fear. Only the ego dies.”— Eckhart Tolle

Is Suffering Necessary?


February 15, 2014


James Kershaw


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Jim Kershaw says

March 15, 2014

It's really difficult trying to get around to seeing a lawyer to make a living will define beneficiaries.

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