Letter to the editor: Reaching out to the elderly sick
There have been several reports of seniors dying all alone – both here in Singapore and in Japan in The Straits Times (ST).
That was followed by discussions, both in media reports as well as in ST’s Forum page as to whether assisted suicide or euthanasia should be an option given to caregivers to end the suffering of their loved ones going through enormous pain from life-threatening illness.
One ST commentary (A Good Life To the End, or a Quick Death, Dec 16, 2017) mentioned that the Australian state of Victoria recently legalised assisted suicide that permitted a patient with a terminal illness with life expectancy of less than six months to obtain a lethal drug to commit suicide.
The commentary also cited several other countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Columbia, Luxembourg and American states such as California, Washington, Vermont and Oregon that have passed laws allowing assisted suicides.
As a born Catholic, I do not support assisted suicide or euthanasia, but am a firm believer in palliative care and the power of prayer which has been known to create miracles.
God gave us life, and only God can take life away from us. It is not for man to play God.
Although death is a subject which many feel uncomfortable to talk about – just like mental illness – death is very much a part of living. We all have to accept that.
As Christians, we all understand that life here on earth is only temporary, for the really good life is in heaven and that is why we must follow closely the teachings of Jesus Christ and show kindness and compassion to one another irrespective of our status in society.
When children are born, parents make so much preparation for them that includes joyful celebrations, setting aside money for their education and even opening up bank accounts for them.
Yet when it comes to the elderly sick, many of whom live all alone, how much support and advance planning do we put in to help them lead more meaningful lives?
So, let’s not avoid discussing end-of-life issues, but be open to talking about dying, and how as Christian brothers and sisters, we can rally around one another to provide that ray of light amidst uncertainties that can come our way.
Raymond Anthony Fernando