When I first started reading the article that inspired this post, William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” came to mind. It was not because of the trouble two people faced because of their love, but because of the way they died. Even though Juliet was just sleeping, Romeo drank poison because he could not stand the thought of living without his beloved. Once Juliet woke up from her temporary slumber and saw dead Romeo next to her, she stabbed herself in the heart with his dagger. They died “together.” Some think it is romantic, I, that it just highlights how some people are too haste in their decisions.
In this modern-day tale, a wife helped her husband commit suicide and then overdosed herself. As with anything else these days, the popularity of this story stems from a social media post. The daughter of the deceased posted a photo of her parents lying next to each other in hospital beds after the overdose. At first, I was surprised because I could not fathom who would want to post such a profoundly intimate photo online. Then, I realized that people grieve in different ways and that my process is not necessarily the same as someone else’s.
Without any further judgment of the daughter, I kept reading only to find out that one half of the couple is NOT dead. Imagine my surprise. The woman who killed her husband was brought back to life and is doing just fine. To me, this sounds like a great murder mystery plot, but the article insisted on taking it a totally different route.
So what really happened? One day, while at home, the woman handed her husband a drink containing prescription medication, with the intention to kill him. Well, not to kill him, but to aid his suicide. She says that he “more or less begged” her for help. Whatever that means, we shall never find out because the man is dead. The man was said to have been battling cancer and had been in immense pain towards the end of his life. Before taking the drink, the husband kissed the woman’s hand and said “Goodnight, darling.” What did she do? She went to lie down on the sofa. Quite a different story than what we see in the photo and read at the beginning of the article.
The two were found and rushed to the hospital. Because of the man’s illness, he had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) directive in place and died that day, while she was brought back to life. It is THEN that the photo was taken. Once the woman’s health improved, she was charged with murder and manslaughter of her husband. This is why the daughter posted this photo online. It was because she was trying to appeal to the emotional side of the English lawmakers. Aside from posting the picture, the daughter also wrote: “Does this look like a murderer? Our mom got charged with murder for trying to commit suicide with our cancer-riddled dad, so he would be out of pain. This was the end of a 60-year love story, NOT MURDER!!!”
There are so many unknowns in this story. We are unable to verify if the man really asked his wife to help him leave this world. I found her 14-page-long “Goodbye note” suspicious, to say the least. Unfortunately, we do not know everything that was written in it, but we know that cancer pain was not the only reason. The article quotes “ill-health, harassment and neighborhood tensions” as the reasons for the murder/ suicide. Does that not change the story a little bit? It makes me wonder if maybe she wanted that death more than he did.
This is not to speculate whether she wanted to kill him on her own volition or if it really was “mercy killing.” Neither it is to wonder if she knew she would survive or if she is happy to be alive. Although I would be curious to find out if she is glad to be alive or not. This post is meant to focus on the act of assisted killing. If someone is depressed and you know it, would you consider lending them a gun? I hope you would not act in haste in such a situation. We are constantly talking about mental health, depression, suicide, and how to HELP people feel better. But in cases like this – we nod in agreement, saying that too much pain is too much. Why? How is this different? I keep hearing that mental disorders are real and that one would not say, “Stop complaining. You are alright” to a person with a broken leg. If we are trying to equate mental health to physical health, why are we then trying to deal with physical issues differently than mental ones?
To me, that WAS murder. If one of my parents “helped” the other kill themselves, I would not be posting fake pictures online and defending them. I would be furious because that would so many questions forever unanswered. Aside from that, I would have a tough time reconciling all of it with my faith and the faith of my family. Suicide is a sin and so is helping someone commit it.
I understand people trying to “ease the pain.” I am in awe of those who bear such terrible pain due to their illnesses every single day. Their lives are less than easy, but so are everyone else’s. We all have a purpose to fulfill. By cutting your life short, you are switching off a movie without seeing its end. Sometimes it would end in the way you expected it to, but sometimes something profound would have happened.
When it comes to assisted killing, I strongly encourage you NOT to do it. But if you choose to die by murder/ suicide, you better make sure that you do not come back to life. Otherwise, you might have to face the music.
Would you help your loved one commit suicide?
How do you feel about mercy killing?
Do you think that some suicides are more warranted than others?
Have you thought of what could go wrong if we made mercy kills totally legal everywhere?
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