The irony of the Terri Schiavo right to die (or right to live depending on your take) case is almost too much to take. It’s ironic that the condition that resulted in her vegetative state was an eating disorder and now for 15 long years what’s left of her has had to endure being fed via a plastic tube down her throat. Now with the, hopefully, final removal of the tube, the death watch has begun or is it perhaps about to end? If indeed our immortal souls are somehow tied to this plane of existence until the physical body ceases to function, then I can only imagine the 15 years of hell Terri has had to endure. I hope that God and the prayers of her friends and family have been of some comfort to that soul, but there’s no way to know. The final irony is that because many of us don’t really know what life is and fear death so much, Terri’s body must slowly starve to death.
There’s no room in our hearts for a merciful end that even the most vile murderers are entitled to. Starvation is a cruel and painful way to die. We put people in jail for starving animals, why can’t we give Terri a dignified send off to the next world? In the same situation, I think I would want my body put down in a gentle and dignified manner rather than be at the center of self serving politicians and misguided do-gooders both causing pain to the ones I love. One could argue that such euthanasia usurps God’s role as master of our lives, and is driven by the selfish urge to escape the physical pain of death. But I would argue that we must also consider the pain of those around us, in which case a dignified death becomes a sacrifice for the sake of those we love. Which is better?