The video below is a newscast describing the vote to euthanize children in Belgium. It does not mention it in this video, but the same law also allows doctors to euthanize people with dementia.
Dementia is a vague diagnosis that is not necessarily life threatening. It can range from mild forgetfulness to a complete loss of mental faculties.
Dementia can be a cause of emotional distress in its early stages, when the person realizes they are forgetting. But once they pass this, it is no longer a problem for them. Dementia is not painful physically and it does not mean the person is unhappy.
My mother, who has dementia, is quite happy and enjoys her life. She tells me over and over again how much fun she is having when we go out for drives or she eats her daily ice cream cone. She always tells me that it’s been months since she’s eaten ice cream, and she enjoys it with the relish of someone who really hasn’t had ice cream for months.
My mother is not useless. She is a totally lovable and rather spoiled elderly child. She is not suffering.
My father, who did not have dementia, went through a period of increasing helplessness and decline before he died. That is nothing terrible that must be shortened to “spare” either the dying or their caregivers. It is a natural phase of life. Rather than a call for us to take up killing people, it is an opportunity for us to show our love in tangible and wonderful ways.
The opportunity to care for the people you love as they take their leave of this life is a gift to you. It is an exhausting experience, sometimes sad, sometimes surprisingly joyous. It is tender and so full of love that it lights up your life, even as you grieve the many losses of their decline.
I have had a number of people, including medical personnel, urge me to do things that would either destroy my mother’s happiness and quality of life, or that would result in her premature death. Their reason? Sometimes they say that caring for her is too much “burden” for me. Other times, they don’t even bother with that gloss but demand that I do these things as if it was my responsibility to them to kill my own mother.
Make no mistake about it: Advanced directives and carping medical “advice” that has nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with social values can be and often are used as a not-so-subtle way to bully people into euthanizing their loved ones.
We are not even one step away from the full-blown slaughter of “useless eaters” of our horrific past. We keep inching toward it in a movement fueled by media propaganda and sophisticated lies concerning what we are doing. The glam we put on murder only hides the reality of it from those who want to be deceived.
I have not — ever — expressed the thought that caring for my mother is a “burden,” much less that it is “too much” for me and I should institutionalize her or even hasten her death to save myself from the trouble of taking care of her.
I am appalled and angered by these repeated, intrusive and usually censorious and judgmental demands that I do away with my mother. But that is the world in which we live. It is a bleak, selfish and utterly cold culture of death.