“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Letting Go of Someone You Love

Letting go of someone you love can be the hardest thing in the world. It can be a minor, temporary letting-go, such as a mother does when she drops her 4+ year old child off to school for the first time, a longer-term one, such as a parent dropping their 18 year old off at university, or a permanent one, when you have to come to terms with the death of someone you love.

Yesterday, I had to make the decision to let my beloved 14 year old cat, Bruno, go. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer back in May, and given "weeks" to live, but spent the Summer quite happily poofling around the garden, eating everything in sight and just chilling out. Evenings were spent curled up on my knee, purring. Then two days ago, he became withdrawn, and off his food, and I knew that the time had come to do the right thing, and take him to the vet, so that his suffering would not be prolonged.

my beloved Bruno

I know it was the right thing to do, but it was so hard. But at least society is on my side - putting an animal who has an incurable illness or insufferable pain to sleep is seen as merciful and sensible and correct. Yet if Bruno had been my parent, or my sibling, or my child, or my friend, any attempt on my part to shorten his life would be seen in many circles as "murder" and completely unacceptable. I know that life is sacred, but I truly believe that if a person is incurably ill, and in possession of their senses, and is able to communicate their wishes, they should be allowed to end their lives with dignity, at a time of their choosing. I also believe that if they are physically unable to do this for themselves, then relatives or doctors should not be punished for helping them. Relatives in particular will have to live with their grief for the rest of their lives - why should they be punished further, if that is truly what the ill person wants? Obviously, there have to be rigorous safeguards, so that it is always abundantly clear that the wishes of the ill person are respected, but otherwise I truly do not understand  why putting an animal out of its suffering is "merciful", while doing the same to a person is "unlawful killing".

1 comment:

  1. So sorry for your loss of Bruno - what a beautiful cat.

    Yes I have never understood why human suffering must be prolonged until all quality of life is gone, whereas animals can be given a merciful release.