Merciful Death

(This post was originally published on my first blog on 2 November, 2011).
It is easy to support a cause like euthanasia  from a distance, but once you are faced with an ill loved one, you see things differently.
Euthanasia, or merciful killing to those who are terminally ill, was a big topic when I was in university, and we were required to write many essays about it, and discuss whether we support it or not. My stance was always the same, my arguments flawless. I supported merciful killing. If someone had specifically requested to be killed when they become terminally ill, their wish must be respected. As for those who did not state their wish, their next of kin must put the comfort of their loved ones first. Killing them while they are in terminally hurting, or unconscious is the most humane and merciful thing to do. No-one deserves to lie in a hospital bed, with tubes in every orifice, plugged into machines. This is not living. This is not what it means to be alive. Even if they are not in a hospital, and they are not hooked up to machines. Their existence is a battle, a burden, and a pain to them and to everyone around them.
I fully supported pulling the plug.
Until I stared at a loved one who is dying slowly every day. Too slowly. They die a little by little, but are never dead.
How can I make such a decision? Such an irreversible decision! I have hope they will improve. Is this the end? Am I strong enough to decide that this is the end?
I cannot take this responsibility, of killing someone. Death seems to us like a much better place to be than their existence floating between life and death, but I cannot pronounce the end.
It is different to discuss euthanasia as you stare into the eyes that you once knew and loved.
Does killing them mean that you have failed them?
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