It’s been great to see the reporting of the community support in the prevention of suicide. Our family has been directly affected by suicide several times and have seen the destructive effect that it has on friends, families and communities.
In view of this, I was saddened as I read Jim Shaw’s article “Choosing death with Dignity” published Nov. 2. I feel that the other side of the issue needs to be presented as well.
Recently I read the book ‘When is it Right to Die? By Joni Eareckson Tada. In it, (and on her You Tube video) she shares her own journey of choosing life and gives alternatives to assisted suicide. Joni, who just had her 70th birthday, shares how she became a quadriplegic at age 17 in a diving accident. When she discovered the extreme extent of her injuries, she despaired of life and looked for ways to end it. When she didn’t find a way, she called out to God and said ‘If I can’t die, then teach me how to live!!
Because of Joni’s life, thousands of people with special needs and their families have benefited with practical support and spiritual help through the ministry she started called ‘Joni and Friends’. She has counseled with people at the end of their lives and given encouragement that helped them maximize their remaining days and recognize the true value of life.
I am also concerned about the future implications that the proposed law may also have, for not only those with terminal illnesses, but those with special needs and their families who may not feel life is worth living.
As a nurse for many years, I have seen people in some difficult heart-wrenching situations. I do not believe that suicide is ever the best answer. That is where we as a medical community and people in general need to stand by with support and help in as many ways as possible .