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9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2008 - 8:22AM #11
TemplarS
Posts: 7,522
My sympathies for your loss, and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

You are right- these are always very personal experiences, no amount of talk about generalities can do justice to the human dimensions of each individual case.  You showed the courage and love to live your Christian faith, and it sounds like you were able to bring some pleasure to your great grandmother-  a wonderful thing which you will always treasure.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2008 - 10:25AM #12
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164
Much sympathy on your loss, Ang.

It sounds as though you were a warm comfort to her during her last few years. 

We attended an aunt's 90th birthday this weekend.  She is still completely agile, mentally and physically - she loves life and gets more out of it than most of us do.  I look at her as a wonderful example of what is possible.

I hope that if she does "slow down" in the coming years, we will remember to give her the same attention and care you gave your great-grandmother.

Generations and families are very different.  I knew only one grandparent - the rest died before I was born.  My husband and I are in our 60s and, just as in our own parents' generation, there are many years between the generations. Our youngest is 23 now.  None of our children are married, so we may be the same age difference with grandchildren someday that your great-grandmother was with you.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2008 - 11:04PM #13
gilg
Posts: 5,200
[QUOTE=angpuppy;823469]First off, please pray for my great grandmother who passed away last night.  She is probably the closest person to me who has ever died.[/QUOTE]

You have my prayers and my sympathies for your loss.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2008 - 3:50PM #14
Riesl1
Posts: 270
I want to reply to an earlier post which referred to the concept that a life could no longer be worth living as an infernal idea. I think that the idea behind your sentiment is noble, but possibly misguided. We also need to remember that we are not made to remain in this world, and that better things await us in the next life. We were made for Heaven.

Just to illustrate a point, my grandmother passed away 4 days before Angpuppy's. She had been in the hospital on and off over the previous two years, and was tired. While visiting her, she asked not to be re-intubated if it came down to it, and we agreed. My family took her to her home, where she died in her sleep two days later. The doctors knew she would die untreated, but life on a ventilator was not worth living to her knowing that if she let God take over, He would bring her home. No one sped her death, and that is a concept that I do find infernal. But they did make her comfortable, treating her with nothing but morphine, food and water.

I think that is an important distinction to make. It is equally as infernal to cling to this life as it is to hasten death.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2008 - 1:28AM #15
rjak134
Posts: 320
[QUOTE=Riesl1;843137]I want to reply to an earlier post which referred to the concept that a life could no longer be worth living as an infernal idea. I think that the idea behind your sentiment is noble, but possibly misguided. We also need to remember that we are not made to remain in this world, and that better things await us in the next life. We were made for Heaven.

Just to illustrate a point, my grandmother passed away 4 days before Angpuppy's. She had been in the hospital on and off over the previous two years, and was tired. While visiting her, she asked not to be re-intubated if it came down to it, and we agreed. My family took her to her home, where she died in her sleep two days later. The doctors knew she would die untreated, but life on a ventilator was not worth living to her knowing that if she let God take over, He would bring her home. No one sped her death, and that is a concept that I do find infernal. But they did make her comfortable, treating her with nothing but morphine, food and water.

I think that is an important distinction to make. It is equally as infernal to cling to this life as it is to hasten death.[/QUOTE]


You have a fair point here & I certainly won't dispute it.  After all, "whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24), so you're certainly right, this life is not all that we are created for.  Perhaps a better way of putting what I wanted to say would be that there is no life that does not have dignity.  Letting someone die because only the most extraordinary means would keep them alive still maintains their dignity, whereas to actually take a life emphatically does not.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2008 - 10:53AM #16
TemplarS
Posts: 7,522
I think the main point here is that these things are intensely personal.  Nobody ought to be telling an individual and/or their family that their life is not worth living; nobody except the individual and their family ought to be telling them what medical measures they should or should not be availing themselves of. 

My personal experience (my parents) is much along the lines of what Riesl says: they were both elderly and quite ill and my mother, especially, was ready to move on when her time came.  My father had died 6 years previously, after a 50 year marriage; she missed him terribly, and often talked about looking forward to joining him.  Her death was natural, but I think welcome to her.  In retrospect, during her last hospitilization, I regret letting the doctors do as many tests as they did. It was pretty clear that whatever they found, she was nearing the end.  At that point- let them go in peace.  Death is a natural process, and beyond a certain point, all the tubes you stick in somebody are not going to change the outcome.

The other lesson- make out a living will while you are still sound enough of mind to do so.  Otherwise, you risk letting others make these decisions for you.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2008 - 7:53PM #17
gc101
Posts: 6
Salvete Omnes,

"Every human life is sacred."  It's a profound statement, and most people don't really think about it.  Lot's of times, being alive isn't so great.  There are times when we feel pain and misery, and we always have to deal with the fact that one day we are going to die.  When we are, happy life seems to be a good thing; when we are sad, we think of the happy times and hope that there are more to come.  Our comittment to life being sacred, and I mean EVERY life ALWAYS being sacred comes when the only future that we can imagine is one of misery. 

The value of life is not based on how we feel, it is based on the fact that we are alive.  Life is a gift from God, with all of its joys and sufferings.  Whether our life asts for 100 years or for 5 seconds, it is a life that is sacred and deserves to be respected.  The person who is suffering and near death isy just as valuable as a Noble prize-winning phycisist, or the Pope himself.

Gabrielis

PS
Angpuppy: amo te
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2008 - 10:25PM #18
angpuppy
Posts: 520
Before Terry Schiavo died, I wrote an article for the student newspaper about the issue.  I interviewed an atorney in Florida as well as an ethics professor at my University.  We spoke about a document that had come out from JPII that winter that would affect how Catholic hospitals and facilities would handle series cases and overall what the Church saw as moral and immoral.

Overall, the Catholic Church has a stricter definition of extraordinary care than what has been practiced.  A feeding tube or a ventilator may or may not be extra ordinary care.  He also talked about the difference between a feeding tube in the stomache and intravenious feeding.  The issue is that you can't just say these are extra ordinary forms of care as there are people who function and contribute in society but are disabled to a point that they can only eat with a feeding tube or breath with a ventilator.

The question has to arise:  is this person dying or are you forcing the end of their life?  A person may well go through a prolonged period of suffering, especially if they find themselves in a disabled state, but that state may not be something that is killing them.  It would be immoral to devalue them by taking away their only way to feed themselves by removing their feeding tube.  However, if the person's body is truly dying, and the medical treatment is having no affect or only forcing the extension of their life artificially while causing immense suffering, it can be said to be time to let go and to find ways to allow the person to pass away comfortably without letting them dehydrate to death or something else.   You don't want to hasten their death and you have no moral requirement to try to artifically extend their life when their time is up.

The controversy around Terry Schiavo was over the fact that she was not dying.  Her parents and siblings disputed her being in a persistent vegatative state and viewed her as being severely handicapped.  Even if she was in a PVS, it certainly wasn't killing her.  If you read her autopsy, she died specifically from dehydration, as they pulled her feeding tube and did not have her on an IV.  Now granted, we're not family members so what information we have may be inaccurate, so let's not so much dispute Terri's case.  The thing is, say you have a person that is in a seriously disabled state where they are barely self aware, but they are not dying.  We need to remember that if a person is in a state that is not killing them, that starving them to death or denying them water is withholding ordinary forms of treatment even they are given these ordinary forms in an unusual way.  We cannot look at the disabled as useless eaters and disguard them.

I think the only other concern is the cost of taking care of the severely handicapped.  It'll always be cheaper on our country and its citizens to end someone's life.  We have to be very careful not to look at people in economic terms.  It is one thing to not have the means to feed someone and for them to die in that case.  It is another to have the means and withhold it from them.

The ethics professor and I did talk about living wills and one delema is that a living will can't cover all situations.  What instructions may be moral in one situation may be immoral in another.  However, I think the push for a living will may be good in that you specify specifically that you do not want your life permaturely terminated.  You need to be protected from obvious immoral decisions.  But overall hopefully you would assign a person to make your decisions in these cases that is good and capable to be as well informed of the situation as possible and who has the good moral judgment to make the decision carefully that you can't at that time.  This does depend a lot on your doctor's honesty as well. 

Its overall a very frightening thing, but using that person's good judgment with whatever information is available is probably the best moral thing you can do.
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9 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2008 - 7:26PM #19
friendofsaints&angels
Posts: 1,327
Hey angpuppy and others, I think that this moral erosion that we see today in the world, has much to do with verbal engineering. Many sins have been given cute little names that don't sound so sinful and spiritually deadly, so people don't take them that seriously. older people are put to death when they are suffering and this is referred to as a merciful death. A merciful death is something that we give to cats and dogs, not human beings. Homosexuality is referred to as an alternative lifesyle, but if people bother to read Sacred Scripture, they can see that homosexuality is a sin. I don't stand out in front of abortion clinics and pray, but abortion is murder, its as simple as that, its the taking of a human life. All sins can be forgiven, but we must also realize that we have offended God, and then actually be sorry for offending Him. I think that the media plays a big part in this moral erosion that goes on around us also. they show gay couples getting married, and state something like- look, this long suffering couple was finally allowed to be married. If someone who doesen't spend much time in prayer, or reading Sacred Scripture is watching that newscast, they are sucked into that belief system. they feel sorry for these people and see nothing wrong with them bringing a spiritual death upon themselves. I think that we see this from the general public as well, with their lack of forgiveness of problems that have surfaced with priests in the Catholic church. I also think that stations like FOX and others portray Catholic priests in a very negative light in many of their television shows. I also think that the media loves to shed light into peoples personal lives in an extreme fashion, and many times, people are guilty until proven innocent. Jesus makes it very clear that there will be no forgiveness for us, if we don't forgive others, this seems to be lost by many in this world today. Peter warns us about being busy bodies and getting too involved in others affairs, sadly this also seems to be lost by many. Just because a bunch of people in this world think that things like abortion and homosexuality are okay, doesen't make it correct. two thousand years ago, many people wanted a murderer released from prison and then wanted Jesus crucified for doing nothing more than telling the truth, does that make what they did correct? We Americans have much to learn from the growing pains of former communist countries. Ironically, there are many in our society who regard moral norms as a form of tyranny and oppression - they think one should be able to do as he or she pleases, "free" of all moral guidelines. According to their frame of referance, what one chooses to do is "right" and "good" precisely because he or she chooses it - not because the choice was made according to a set of moral norms. There are others who assume (perhaps unwittingly) that if a poll demonstrates that the majority of Americans holds a particular opinion about a moral issue, that opinion must be morally correct. If we lived totally according to that approach, a majority vote would determine morality, and morality would change as the numbers change. Isn't that backwards? It's what Pope Benedict XVI has called "the tyranny of public opinion." If we are in touch with the law that God has placed in our hearts (wich I know many of you are) then we can see what God was referring to in Sacred Scripture about the end times. Many people will become their own gods, choosing what is good and evil for themselves.
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