My son Umberto wants to say something on Question 2 (Massachusetts voters are asked to vote on Question 2: “Prescribing Medication to End Life”. This question would, if passed, legalize doctor prescribed suicide). He cannot write so he urged me to type for him (he can’t talk either, but we have efficient ways to communicate). Here we go, but please remember that what you read are his thoughts, not mine.
Hi, I am Umberto and I want to send a message to my American brothers who are called to vote on Question 2 above. I am pretty sure that my Italian fellows will face similar situations very soon, so please do not see my words as an undue interference, it is just training. Indeed I don’t want to comment the legal aspects of Q2, the right to decide, etc., I just want to share my personal experience on two issues that are closely related: what doctors and people in general (they) believe it is an “unbearable way of living” and what I consider a dignified way of dying.
When I was born, doctors found I was affected by a rare chromosomal syndrome. They carefully read the books and sentenced that I was going to dye (in dignified manner or not they didn’t care) in less than a year. It was a waste of time and public money to try to keep me alive for just few months, condemned to “unbearable” physical sufferings. Fortunately my Mom, who is a mother first and then a doctor, read my eyes first and later her medical books and told her colleagues to proceed “full code” to keep me alive. Of course they did what my mother wanted, but just because they did not want to contrast a colleague who evidently was losing her mind because of the “tragedy” (i.e. me!) that hit her.
In fact doctors and everybody, relatives included, were displaying great compassion for my parents and my older brother: they thought they were suffering beyond limit because of me, so different I was from other children and in continuous need for help: eating, washing, moving me around, I never learned to speak nor to stand up. However I was able to look deep in the eyes and to smile, just to show everybody how much I was happy to live.
Pretty soon the “others” thought my family had gone nuts because, instead of crying and complaining about the “unbearable” situation, they were happier than before my arrival. Sure, they had to change drastically their lifestyle, but for the better. They were forced to eliminate anything which was not essential for better caring me and the big prize was that they discovered, with me, the essence of true unconditional love. Having eliminated all the “normal” capabilities and perspectives, the only bare thing remaining was love, just Love. My parents had read Cor I, 13 many times, but never really understood it until I entered in their life.
However, in spite of their effort, my family never succeeded in convincing doctors and everybody else that I was a great gift. They continue to think their mind derailed at my birth or their serene attitude was just a posture to survive. Reality was quite the opposite: we had the possibility to see the true meaning of life, they were “seeing” only technical books and instruments’ readings.
I spent 16 years on Earth (didn’t they say less than one?). Physically it was a rollercoaster, but once you understand that the essence is love, fighting adversities and taking care of the family as a whole, becomes the normal way of living and, miracle!, none fear the death anymore. In fact, once you really experience unconditional love, when you can “touch” it, you know that it transcends the time, the “kronos”, and it enters into the “kayrós”, the sacred time that stands out of the space-time tunnel in which we spend our terrestrial life. Moving out of the tunnel will not destroy the love you generated: joining the eternal Love you will share it with the Saints.
So, one day, dipping down a usual rollercoaster hill I felt I couldn’t pull up again. With the constant help of my family, I fought for a week, then I had to give up. When the time came, only my Mom was with me, my big brother and Dad were resting at home: in my way I urged my Mom to call them, quickly! Doctors, as usual, couldn’t understand how I was still able to breath and my heart to beat: for them I was supposed to be dead. They never understood my power! In few minutes the family was reunited and only as I felt the hands of my brother, of my father and my mother grasping mine in trepidation, I let it go and breathed my last. It was a supreme moment for all of us, and for an instant we all saw the light I was entering in.
That is what I consider a dignified way to die. Something everybody should hope to experience when the time is ripe. But there are no human laws, or votes to Question 2, that can prescribe or negate such an experience…
Love to you all, from where I see the Truth “face to face”, Umberto