Why is death considered so horrible, and why does suicide cause such angst?

One of my TBM brothers took his own life.  It cause a great deal of pain to my TBM mother, but when she was 80 years old, with a great deal of medical problems and in a terrible amount of pain because of a botched pacemaker lead replacement, she asked for the plug to be pulled.  My TBM father didn’t honor her request.

I’m sure I would have honored her request, but I don’t blame my father in the least.  He was brainwashed to believe it was a sin, and he knew mother better than I did, so it was his call.

If I reach the place where mental and/or physical pain becomes greater than the joy I have in living, I will have no problem checking-out.

When I was a believer, I thought suicide was a sin, of course.  However, in the years since, my views have changed dramatically.  I now think it should be a personal choice, and it should be legal for it to be assisted.  Appropriate precautions should be in place to prevent murder of course, but we shouldn’t have to jump through too many hoops to have help in checking-out of this life with the least pain possible.

I’ve heard the argument that it’s extremely selfish because it hurts loved-ones too much.

My reply is that I’m sure it hurts loved ones, but if we are in a terrible amount of pain, then it’s the loved ones that are selfish to demand that we remain so.  If it appears to others that we have a hope of recovery from pain, then let them argue the point with us, but they should have no right to demand that we remain in pain.

 I like TruthR’s reply to that argument and have her permission to repeat part of it here.  She said:   “My role in life, how I live it or choose to end it is not based on pleasing others, I don't go out of my way to hurt others but I am not responsible for their view or reaction to how I choose to live or end my life.  People make choices everyday that slowly kill themselves."

I also like Tom Wootton’s reply:  “The fact that you can’t handle your emotions does not give you the right to dictate my life! If it did, would you have the right to take my life because I made you angry? It seems that the most selfish act is demanding control of my very life to satisfy your emotional needs.  http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-advantage/2010/03/suicide-pro...

We spend a great deal of time and money to prevent suffering, so why is it illegal for a doctor to relieve our suffering in this way?  We often put-down animals out of compassion.  Why do we have less compassion for human beings?

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Pain can be managed. Problem is, it often is not.  I intended to do myself in, and got ready for it.  My biggest obstacle were my friends.  Years later and the (emotional) pain that drove me to that point is way gone, and I have given life(and some other stuff)  to others.  My experience tells me that pain goes away, and that there are things that will happen in the future that will make you glad you made it to the future (if you do).

Bar, I may have been remiss in not first urging young people and those that have a hope of recovery from mental or physical pain to reconsider their choice to end their own life.  I will do so now.  Any one reading this, I would urge you to consider the pain you will cause those that love you if you take your own life, and try to tough it out for their sake.  Most of us do have people that love and care for us, even if we think not.  

My brother that took his own life had reached the point that he thought his family no longer cared about him.  He especially took his mother's constant urging to do better in his life as a criticism of him and an indication that she didn't love him anymore.  Like most moms, she was too heavy handed with the nagging, but I know for a fact she did love him greatly, as did dad.  

The rest of us cared about him also.  If I had known what he was going to do, I would have tried my best to let him know I cared about him.  I would have inviting him to do things with me and taken more of an interest in things he was interested in.  I would not have had to fake those things because I did like being with him and could have enjoyed the things he did.  His interests were fascinating.  For one thing, he knew more about mushrooms than probably anyone in the state.  I would have immensely enjoyed going with him to hunt them and learning from him.  He had a lot of things he could have taught me.  That's another reason to reconsider.  You have many things to teach others that they will miss-out on if you die.  Tears are streaming down my face as I write this, thinking about what I've missed by not having my good brother around.

Despite what I said in my last post, I still don't understand why so many think death is so horrible.  Bar, you mentioned Drew Carey and what he would have missed.  I can't see how he would have missed anything.  He would have had no consciousness, so how could he miss anything, or regret anything, or had any thoughts of any kind, pleasant or unpleasant?

Religious people seem to be much more fearful of death than the rest of us.  Is it because they think they may go to hell, or what?  Bar, do you believe in God/heaven/hell?  Do you think it's a sin to kill ourselves?

Bar, I think one of the reasons I didn't mention an alternative to suicide at first is because I knew you and others would very quickly mention it.  More importantly, when I've tried to find places on the internet that have positive things to say about suicide, I had a tough time finding them.

 Even when I type in very specific search terms to find them, the search engine still comes-up with  an overwhelming number of sites that recommend counseling and many other things to get people to not do it.  Why should I have to join the overwhelming chorus on the opposite side before I'm allowed to say anything in favor of it?

Bar, I, for one, do not agree with people just because they have authority.  Never have.  Never will.  I've argued with bosses before when I thought they were wrong, even though I knew they could make life tough on me, including getting me fired.

Hello Bar,

With all due respect, I think you over estimate the likely hood of anyone here agreeing with TruthR, myself, or any moderator just because we watch over the community for house rule violations, of which agreement with the admin team is not mandated.  I encourage and value open expression here in whatever form that takes so long as people maintain personal respect.  If we don't allow open discussion here, these conversations would just take place elsewhere.  I'd expect you to agree that this is a great opportunity for all sides of a debate to be explored.  Instead of criticizing me or the management team for allowing open discussion, why not present your concise argument against the OP (original post) or to other's opinions.  I am not vilifying you and respect you for voicing your thoughts whether I agree with your them or not.  No member of LAM will ever be disciplined for voicing their opinion in respectful and non-attacking terms.  With that clarification, I hope you'll share your position and counter argument for the benefit of having multiple perspectives on this subject.

In this second post, I'd like to address guilt.  

My wonderful father died 2 years ago at the age of 95.  He suffered a lot in the months before he died.  I don't know how much because he never was one to complain or even talk about it.  But it was obvious that his body was shot and causing him considerable pain.  The doctors could do very little for him.  It was obvious that he had lost his zest for life.  He just sat in his easy chair, not wanting to go anywhere, not reading the books he used to love, and not responding to anyone.  It appeared to me that he was just waiting to die.

My good mother suffered because of his suffering.  She told me before he died that she would miss him, but would like to see him go in order to be out of his misery.  She told me after his death that she did miss his lively self, but was very glad that he was in pain no longer.

My good sister suffered because of his suffering. She had taken our parents into her house so she could care for them in their old age.  She had to give him shots several times a day.  She had to hassle with medical people.  She and mother had to make sure that when he went to the toilet that his garments were out of the way, or else he would forget to do it and defecate in them.  Then it was a huge struggle to get them off him.  His dignity was, of course, horribly degraded because of this.  He never used any swear words in his life, but he finally started swearing at Sis & Mom when his dignity was taking a beating.

To a lesser extent, all of us children suffered because of my dad's pain.  We were too far away to help much, and trying to get him to respond was a huge chore when we visited.  Personally, I felt bad that I didn't visit him more, but it was an extremely hard thing for me to do.  He had always been my hero, and I couldn't stand to see him suffering so, and having no interest in life anymore.

I blame the church for a lot of his suffering.  He was a True Blue Mormon.  I'm sure he thought ending his own life was a sin.  I'm sure he thought God had a good purpose in making him suffer so.  I wanted him to find relief, his wife wanted him to find relief, his daughter wanted him to find relief, and I'm sure the rest of his children did as well.  

The people that I've talked to that are against ending your own life, have all been religious people.  They believe the false doctrine that there is a god and he wants us to suffer for one reason or another.  I imagine the first person to come-up with this theory did so because his brain had been conditioned to fear death because of natural selection.  Once I saw that mormonism was false, my fear of death left me. I am sad that I will have to cease to exist, but I see no logical reason for that sadness.  It's probably just the natural response of my brain that has developed by the evolutionary force that favors the people that try their best not to die.  The only thing I fear is the suffering I might have to endure before death, and I resent those that try to make me feel guilty because I want to avoid that suffering.

Why does suicide cause such angst? Because it is a human tragedy.

 

There is a profound difference between "pulling the plug" and suicide. The two are not related at all in my mind. In my opinion, a clear distinction should be made in this topic between the two different things. If someone's life can only be sustained by artificial means, the plug is pulled, and they pass, that is not suicide. Idaho Spud, what, if I may ask, happened to your mom after your dad refused to pull the plug?

 

I do not think suicide is a sin nor do I think it is selfish. I don't think the pain it causes others has much to do with these things, though I agree that these labels are often used which I think it wrong. In my opinion, the pain suicide causes others is because the loved ones left behind are saddened that someone they loved was in so much pain that they felt their only option was to take their own life. And often times, the person is in pain in silence and loved ones aren't even aware that the person was considering suicide. Plus, I think the pain is also due to a sense of guilt people feel because they wish there was something they could have done to help the person. 

 

To anyone who is considering suicide, please seek out help. There are people who can assist you and you can get help anonymously without paying any money. Go to suicide.org and that will get you started on getting help.

 

Suicide is NEVER the answer. Getting help is the answer.  

Happy Guy, I think mom had a wire going from her groin to her pacemaker or heart to keep it beating.  Technically, I guess that is artificial means, but she was expected to recover and she did.  She is still living.  The term "pull the plug" was the term she used, and I guess it would have ended her life at that time.

In any case, after she returned home, she said she would never have another pacemaker operation.  When it died, she was not going to call the doctor (or anyone, if I remember correctly). She would die when it did.  Technically, that would be pulling the plug I guess, but I think she was saying she was going to commit suicide.  She was making the decision to end her life at that point. I'm not clear on the distinction between the two.  I'll have to think more about it.

In the end, was she glad that your father didn't pull the plug in that situation? If it is a situation of a painful procedure where recovery to normal living is expected, I do not support pulling the plug in that situation. From what you've described, it sounds to me like your dad made a wise choice. 

 

And the attorney side of me wants to remind everyone that an advance health care directive can be a very good thing. Let your family know your wishes before you are incapacitated. It relieves them the burden of making the decision. Instead, they are carrying out your wishes. They will thank you for it. 

I don't know if she was glad.  I think not.  Maybe I'll ask her when we meet tomorrow.

She did make-out a health care directive after that, saying she did not want any heroic efforts to keep her alive.  I did the same.

Suicide was once a very noble exercise in Christianity. It was called martyrdom. So many were willing die

for Christ that the Church had to outlaw it. Since then in western society it has been considered a sin.     We need to be aware of potential sluiced victims so that they can receive consulting.

 After such it has to be up to the individual. There are some states of life that I will refuse to live in. A debilitating disease, a  malfunctioning body to mention two. In Japan it was considered honorable in certain circumstances. Not that I totally agree in all those cases,. The Martyrdom mentality is still with us with the Moslems that are prepared to end their life in the glory of Allah. Give peopleconsul and guidance without guilt and allow them to decide'

It is good to talk openly so we all can understand and support.

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