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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How would anyone here feel if a child committed suicide?  I'm sure someone here has experienced this.  What I've been saying all along is that when you get to that point of zero quality in your life, you can refuse to eat and drink, and can have medication prescribed to keep you pretty much zonked until you die.  In my mind it's like refusing chemo if it's not going to work.  But better for relatives to live with that out right suicide.

Thank you so much for the discussion on this extra sensitive subject. It is so difficult to be objective on it.


In Christopher Reeves' biography he tells the story of how he wanted to commit suicide when he found out he was paralyzed. His wife told him he could, but he needed to wait a year first. By the time a year had passed he had decided that he wanted to live, so it was a mute point, but I often wonder if she would have supported his decision if he had still wanted to end his life. (She would have had to be an active part of his suicide....so that makes it a little different.)


Choosing to not continue life support or not get medical treatment isn't suicide. Also, having a traumatic event and commiting suicide in a panic isn't good. But we aren't talking about either of those scenarios, right? We are talking about an adult making a thoughtful adult decision and if we should respect that decision.


Does suicide hurt the people who are left behind? Definitely. It is devastating. Is it more devastating than other decisions we make as adults? Two years ago I chose to commit "spiritual suicide" in my dad's eyes by leaving the family religion. That was completely devastating for him and he has experienced a lot of pain because of my decision - maybe more pain than if I was actually dead but still faithful. But the decision was mine and I had to make a choice for myself regardless of how it may have hurt others. If I could go back in time I would still leave the Mormon church even though it hurt my family.


Mom has a "Do Not Resusitate" order that she keeps in her purse. If she went to the hospital and I was on the phone with her doctor, I really hope I would respect her wishes. At this point I don't know if I could get past my own selfish desire to have more time with her. Would I tell the doctor to dig through her purse to find the order or would I keep it to myself? I don't know. Hopefully if it happens I will support her decision - she has always supported my decisions.

Well, I don't know if you read my post, but my desire to commit suicide wasn't a panicked reaction to a traumatic event. It was the result of years of deep insecurity and depression without a moment of relief. It was a suffocating kind of pain that I dealt with every. single. day. And even if I had been an adult instead of a teenager, I wouldn't have expected anyone who cared about me to respect or support my decision to kill myself. And I would now thank anyone who did anything to help me from making an ultimately hurtful and final decision.


As far as your mom's Do Not Resuscitate order, like you said, choosing not to get medical treatment isn't suicide.


Thanks to everyone for sharing their differing perspectives respectfully. :)

Honoring a parent's last wishes is one of the most loving things a daughter can do.  My dad's wife has a copy of his living will, as do I , and my brother, so that his bases are covered if someone can't pull it off.  I know him too well, and my children know me too well to make me suffer uselessly.  That would be cruel.
Sarah, All of the after life experiences I've read about have left my mind pretty open about afterlife.  I am a believer in God, beit rather liberal, and do attend a really cool church mostly for fellowship and fantastic music.  But whether someone believes in energy passing on, or a spiritual self passing on, many have had such an experience.  And it's so ridiculously silly to put doctors and scientists on t.v. to try to explain away what someone has just said about having an experience.  I would be offended.  The stuff they talk about seeing in the operating room can't be made up.  You just don't dream that specifically, and correctly.
Funny movie #1:  Some Like It Hot, with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe.
I agree with previous posts about comparing the atonement to suicide.  I also to not believe the atonement was necessary.
Good post Astro.  How about adding those who send property tax bills every year?  And those from Social Security who make it impossible for elderly to remarry after the death of their spouses?  So those elderly folks who cannot by their own standards just live with someone, spend their last days alone and wanting companionship, but can't lose their Social Security check from their spouse?
Jack was 83.  I imagine he was probably ill of something.  Being in prison for so many years may have shortened his life a bit.  What specifically about him did you disagree with?


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