Its been a tough week

WARNING: This blog contains themes of euthanasia and assisted suicide that readers may find confronting.

It’s been a tough week here in paradise. Two of my customers are badly affected by Alzheimer’s and have a very poor quality of life but are trapped in that horrible land between knowing and not knowing what is happening to them. It is heartbreaking when your client tells you she is having a bad day because she can’t find her husband and feels that he has died and no one will tell her and you know that he died about 8 years ago. What do you say in that situation and what do you do when half way through the mobile groom they forget who you are and think you are kidnapping their only friend left in this world, their precious dog? In addition, a friend’s wife in her late 50’s has had a severe stroke and is clearly expressing a desire to terminate her life but is unable to due to medical intervention and family that think that she should be kept alive at all costs, despite her previously verbalized desire for no heroic measures to be undertaken in the event of finding herself in this situation.

I cannot help but wonder why we are so compassionate towards our companion animals and happy to do the right thing and provide them with euthanasia when their quality of life becomes unbearable but cannot exhibit the same compassion towards our own species. Why do people think that a person who is breathing and existing should be kept alive? Is it because as human we have a fear of death and loss? Is it because we are selfish and think only of what the loss of that person means for us or is it because we value human life more highly than animal life? Do we just feel we can just go out and get a new dog, cat or rabbit to replace the one we lost but not so another friend or family member?

Why is it that humans must live the average three score and ten years to be considered as having had a good life? In less recent times there are many examples of people who have made incredible contributions to society but have died young. Mozart for example was only 35 when he died and we cannot ague about his contribution to the world of music both while he was alive and since his death. In more recent times Dr Chris O’Brien, the NSW Neurosurgeon, who died a untimely death at only 57, as a result of a brain tumour, is good case of a person who in life and death has contributed immensely to our society. It could be argued that had he not died early the centre open in his name at Royal Prince Alfred would not have come into existence nor would people outside of the medical community have known about this wonderfully talented surgeon.

I have lost many animals in my nearly 50 years of living as sadly they do not have the life span we do and also some significant people, such as my father. I have also lost many attributes of life that people value such as my career, my house, my health and the love of my family as well as my capacity to live as a fully functional person in society or to provide the type of home my daughter should live in. Yes it does cause grief, but at the end of the day a person who acknowledges these losses and allows them to make them a stronger person is blessed with a knowledge that life can go on despite significant loss and change. But those who I have lost are still with me still there in spirit.

Spiritualists claim that people and animals touch our lives for a reason, some for a long period others not. For example Meeko, our lovely Burmese cross rescue cat who recently spent only two short years of her current life with myself and my daughter. She came from nowhere at a time that was important for my daughter to learn how good a photographer she is, Meeko became the star of some of her best work and photos of her taken by Kathleen have been praised as exceptional work from such a young photographer. Then just as quickly as she came Meeko incredibly left out lives in what was an act of madness to us. It had been an on-going battle to keep her away from the area where the big dogs lived for months then one Sunday morning she broke out through a window and jumped down right into the middle of two large dogs in what could only have been understood as an act of animal suicide. I can only believe that Meeko considered her time here with us had achieved what she set out to achieve and it was time to move to another point in her journey, to another life.

Value and love what you have today either in yourself, your animals or those people who connect with your life. Make the best of every minute and know that what you have may be gone from you in a heartbeat as soon as tomorrow. Respect a sick person or animals desire to end their life with the dignity they deserve even if that causes you pain and suffering but know that they will always be there in spirit for you for the rest of eternity.

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Posted on November 14, 2010, in Health, Pet Guardians and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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