Faith Reflections

Woman with Disability says, “No” to Assisted Suicide

In the past few years, there have been many cases of people wanting to end their lives prematurely because of pain and suffering with assisted suicide. But I don’t agree with them. I don’t agree because from the moment we’re born until the moment we die, we will all experience pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is part of the human condition. We are all bound to it.

Many believe that people with disabilities are sick, frail, and weak; that people with them have more pain and suffering than those without them. And because they believe this, they can condone assisted suicide. Now, I get frustrated and depressed about my disability. Imagine how a child would feel if you told them, “You will never walk or travel.” That’s how it feels when I’m told I’ll never work. Having a disability causes me emotional and physical pain but still, the very idea of assisting someone to die infuriates me. I’m a human being with the same emotions, loves and dislikes as anyone else on the planet. For all intents and purposes, I am normal. I’m tired of the assumptions that I am unhealthy, debilitated or fragile. My bone disease doesn’t break my zeal for life, it breaks my bones which are two different things.  I cry many tears and yes, I even cry out, “God why me?” But I still thank Him for my life.

I was 16 when I thought I should end it. “Will this never end? Will I continue breaking bones and keep returning to surgery?Will I be able to make friends, find love or employment when people don’t understand the pain and joy of my struggle?” My questions were answered when I found Rick Warren’s, “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” There he wrote, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time? One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables us to grow.” But how does one grow through pain? I realize now that it enabled me to discover who I am. Then, however, I thought it would be better to end life than to continue. I didn’t though. I thank God that he gave me the strength to continue with it.

Had I ended my life, I would have never known the joy of holding my niece in my arms for the first time; looking down on her sweet, content little face. I would have never known what a newborn baby smells like; what the touch of her silky soft skin feels like. I would have never known her little sister two years later; her laughter as we played games with our imagination. I would have never known the exhilaration of getting behind the wheel of my van for the first time; driving in a parking lot faster than my wheelchair could go down a sidewalk. I would have never known the sense of accomplishment, wheeling across the stage when graduating with my bachelor’s degree in business management. I would have never travelled to Australia and experienced Kangaroos eating out of the palm of my hand. I would have never known the depth of sorrow and of heartbreak in losing my unconditionally loving father.

While life has pain, it has much to offer. These words by Mother Theresa sum it up for me,

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is bliss, taste it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is costly, care for it.

Life is wealth, keep it.

Life is love, enjoy it.

Life is a mystery, know it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is a sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is Life, fight for it!”