This past week I sang at the funeral of a beloved, generous, and faithful parishioner and family friend. A few weeks ago this 85 year old man, whom I will call Bill (not his real name), had a massive stroke. Bill was a permanent fixture in the church pew and so when he did not show up for mass on a weekday my dad worried that something may be wrong so he went to his home to check on him. Sure enough he found Bill collapsed on the floor. 911 was called and he was taken to the local hospital where Bill was assessed, medicated and put on fluids. I will not go into too much detail as death and dying are sacred and private and so someone’s dying and death experience should be kept quiet unless they give their consent to share the details of their experience. Instead of sharing details I will try and describe the events through the lens of my interior spiritual experiences.
I visited Bill around 8 times while he was in the hospital. I was drawn to Bill during this time and even though I did not know him well (he is a friend of my mom’s) I wanted to bring him comfort and love. I knew Bill was ready to die and had been desiring it for some time. He wanted to go home, he had ran a good race, and was desiring the Beatific Vision. Bill did not die right away, it took nine days. I have never experienced a death of someone close to me. The closest relative I ever lost to death was my grandpa when I was 12 years old. Not that I was close to Bill but close enough I guess and my mom was close to him and I am close to my mom. And I am a middle-aged adult so death is more real to me now than when I was a child. So I was drawn to the entire process as God wanted me to learn many things through the experience.
The main thing I learned was that there is a lot of gray area when it comes to euthanasia. Lots of prayer, discernment, and seeking wisdom from others is needed in seeking out end of life answers. I had so many questions throughout this experience and not many answers. Some of the questions I had were, When should IV fluids be given or taken away? If a person can refuse food and water while they are aware, why can they not refuse food and water (i.e., put it in their living will) through artificial means when they are not aware. What if a person puts in their living will they do not want any artificial means of keeping them alive? Are IV fluids and feeding tubes artificial? Who determines when someone is in imminent danger of death? If it’s the doctor then can I trust that he/she will be truthful? What if the doctor supports euthanasia and is answering our questions from that lens? When are we stepping over the line and deciding the means and time of someone’s death rather than God deciding? And the most important question of all!! What does the Catholic Church teach on the subject?
Some of my questions were answered through the process but most were not. I now know on a basic level what the Church teaches about euthanasia. Although, I have much more research and reading to do on the subject. The Lord so chose not to reveal any of the other answers to me and I trust that He has a plan in this. A good plan in which I am unable to see. So I trust in Jesus that He will reveal His truths to me as He sees fit. In the meantime I can and should inform myself more fully on what the Catholic Church teaches about euthanasia. As this is one of the most pervasive and destructive forms of pride in our world today and I think it is paramount that all Catholics do their duty and be informed on this subject. One day I may be called by God to be the power of attorney for my parents, my husband or even, should God ask it of me, my children. This is a very serious role to take on as Catholics, a role where we are direct ambassadors for truth and for God. We are in the trenches, facing evil head on. We have the power to say no to euthanasia. But in order to say no to IT we need to know what IT is. This is why I must educate myself and let God do the rest. I must trust that He will reveal to me truths as I need them and that He will not abandon those He loves. So I know, if I ever have to make a difficult end of life decision for someone, that God will lead me to the truth of the situation and all will be fine. No even better, all will be divine!! I do not have it in myself to find the answers to the questions I ask. Heck, I think it is God who even puts the questions there. And it will be in His time that the answers are revealed to me.
This whole experience also got me thinking that I really need to have a living will so I can make it very clear how I want the end of my life to look like. Although I am open to living a long life, if this is what God so desires, I am also not naive to the fact that I could die anytime. So a living will is an important document to have. Although if God so chooses to take me before I get this living will completed (as I am such a procrastinator) then this would be His will for me and so that is what I desire. But in the meantime I need to get my living will done and I would encourage anyone who does not have one to get one.
I pray for all those who are having to make difficult end of life decisions for the people they love. I pray that God will flood you with His truths. That He will bestow His wisdom and understanding on you. I pray for all Catholics that they will do their duty and become informed about what the Catholic Church teaches on euthanasia. I pray that God will reveal His truths to you and would give you all the courage and boldness to speak and act according to the truth. I pray for all those facing death and the sufferings that accompany it. I pray that God will bring you peace and joy amidst the pain and suffering. I pray that when your last breath leaves your body God’s mercy will be there to embrace you. Above all I pray that God’s will be done in all things. For His will is most perfect and beautiful. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
What are your questions about euthanasia? Please share
Please Support this Ministry. To find out how please click on the link provided. Thank you and God bless.
*images may be subject to copyright