"Preparing for the End"
In the early morning, a WeChat message woke me up.
The sender was a relative whose grandfather had recently been given a critical illness notice. The hospital refused to admit him, so he was now being cared for at home.
I didn't dare to open the message or reply. Because I didn't know what to say, the image of that grandfather has always been in my mind - the figure who helped out at my house when I was a child, and the silhouette of him leaving after sitting outside my house in the evening.
Who could have imagined that a few months ago, a person who could still ride a bike for several kilometers would now struggle to breathe.
From childhood until now, I always thought "coughing up blood" was an exaggerated technique used in martial arts dramas. Until I saw the photos they sent me. A pool of blood on the ground, mixed with black blood clots, what kind of pain must that be.
I think of my own grandfather, who was bedridden for several months five years ago, and the taste of it is unimaginable.
I remember that before he got sick, he loved to tell us stories from his youth, repeating them tirelessly - or maybe he didn't even know he was repeating them. As a ninety-year-old man, he couldn't even remember many names, so how could he remember whether he had told this or that story before.
When he passed away, I was studying far away in another place. I received a phone call and took the train home that night. At the train station, I used my BlackBerry 9900 to write down my feelings in the memo. A few hundred words, typing with tears in my eyes, but I just couldn't cry.
All that flashed before my eyes were scenes of my grandfather telling stories. Thinking that I would never be able to hear him ramble on again, my nose started to feel sour.
Even now, I still carry that old-fashioned phone with me. But I haven't opened the memo for several years.
After seeing the news last night, I didn't reply, but I also couldn't sleep.
When I woke up in a daze this morning, I saw messages in the group saying that he hadn't passed away yet, but he couldn't eat anymore. It must be extremely painful.
While washing up, I was thinking about a question: why doesn't our country legalize euthanasia?
The reason I thought of euthanasia is because I can somewhat feel the despair of the elderly in their illness and pain. (Because both my grandparents passed away in pain, I now regret not accompanying them well in their final days.)
Euthanasia, the seemingly simplest way to end suffering, what reasons have led to its lack of widespread recognition?
I looked up relevant information, and opponents mainly hold the following views:
- It can be abused by malicious individuals, causing an ethical crisis.
- If patients choose death over medical treatment, it hinders the development of medicine.
The first point does exist, but can it be restricted through strict laws to prevent abuse? As for the second point, I feel it is quite sad. Even in death, do I not have the right to choose? Do I have to willingly kneel down and let future generations explore the future by stepping on my shoulders?
It truly feels suffocating.
Many medical advancements are not solely discovered through clinical practice, so this is not a valid excuse, but more like a form of indoctrination.
Actually, even before I learned about this, I had similar dirty thoughts - if all patients chose euthanasia, then hospital expenses and economic development would also be affected. After all, healthcare is a significant expenditure, and there are many factors involved.
Speaking of euthanasia, many countries and regions in the world, including my own, consider active euthanasia a crime, but there is greater tolerance for passive euthanasia, for example:
A well-known case in Taizhou, Zhejiang
The mother was seriously ill and became a burden to her family. She repeatedly requested death. Finally, her son-in-law bought poison, and her husband, daughter, and son-in-law watched her take the poison and pass away.
In the end, the court sentenced the son-in-law and husband to 3 years imprisonment with a 5-year probation for intentional homicide, and the daughter to 2 years imprisonment with a 3-year probation.
The scene in this case, the mentality of this mother, perhaps it has happened in countless corners of this land. But how many people dare to take that step?
Why don't they dare? It's not just because of legal constraints, but also moral constraints, especially the pressure from family members - the pressure from the belief that "filial piety is the most important," and the scrutiny of relatives and neighbors.
When my grandfather was bedridden, he also said similar things to me while I fed him - it would be better to just die. I can't remember how many times he said it. Therefore, in the period of time after he passed away, I wasn't that sad. For him, it might have been a kind of release - it's just that this release came too late. But in the end, who can really know.
Regarding the legalization of euthanasia, many countries and regions in the world have already implemented it:
- Countries and regions that have legislation allowing active euthanasia:
Europe: Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg (physicians must personally administer the injection)
South America: Colombia (physicians are not allowed to personally administer the injection, the patient must self-administer the medication)
- Countries and regions that have legislation allowing passive euthanasia:
Europe: United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Norway, France, Spain, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Sweden
Asia: South Korea, Republic of China (Taiwan), India
- Countries and regions that have legislation allowing assisted suicide:
Europe: Germany, Switzerland
North America: United States (some states: Washington D.C., California, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Washington, Montana, Hawaii), Canada
Oceania: Australia (Victoria, Western Australia)
Life's major events, nothing is more significant than life and death. We don't have the right to choose our birth, and even the choice to end our own lives is taken away from us.
I hope that when I am old, before experiencing the torment of illness and pain, I can make my own choice and depart peacefully.