God’s Waiting Room

I heard that expression for the first time the other day.
They were referring to a nursing home, a retirement facility, a long term care institution.
I had never heard that term before.
And I got to thinking, aren’t we really all in God’s Waiting Room?
We could be summoned in at any time, at any place.
But after watching a documentary on tv about assisted dying, I realize differently.
And it seems Vancouver Island in B.C. is the official God’s Waiting Room.
The documentary revealed that more people on that island than anywhere else in the WORLD choose to die with medical assistance.
Legal in Canada since 2016, the Medical Assistance in Dying Act, or MAID, has helped nearly 10,000 people meet their demise on their own terms.
Call it what you will, it is still suicide.
Assisted suicide.
No longer waiting for the arms of death to embrace them.
They are choosing to take the journey when and how they please.
The Netherlands, a very progressive country when you take in their stance on drugs and sex, also has a similar program that has been in place for the past two decades.
But the number of people who have opted for MAID on Vancouver Island since 2016 is nearly double the number in the Netherlands over the past 20 years.
What is happening?
Add in the fact that funeral homes on Vancouver Island are now more than oh-so-happy to assist, arranging to help someone die in the morning and be buried that afternoon.
And the astonishing fact that there are more doctors and nurses on the island than anywhere else in Canada, and you have a potentially lethal combination, pardon the pun.
Oh yes, you have to pass intensive questioning and numerous interviews before even being considered to be able to choose your own death date.
And it is now, until 2023 anyways, only people who are terminally ill, in considerable pain and suffering, who have zero quality of life, and who are imminently going to die anyways who are able to access the MAID services.
They are simply choosing to not continue their suffering and die in agony or at the will of God.
They are taking matters into their own hands.
And in 2023, people with mental health struggles including depression may be allowed to access assisted suicide, pardon me, medical assistance in dying.
Heck, where will it end?
If someone has a bad day, and doesn’t want the mess and drama of stepping in front of a train, can they just call up a doctor willing to help them die?
There was a great tv series called Mary Kills People that is definitely worth the watch.
The chilling character Mary goes about helping people who are sick and suffering access the great beyond, all the while trying to skirt the law and not go to prison herself.
The cast is excellent, and it is a Canadian made show that is a lesson in MAID.
And what of the doctors who ultimately do decide to help people who are suffering end their lives prematurely, are they not going against the oath they took in medical school: Do No Harm.
Or are they?
Are they helping people be free of the harm of pain and suffering that doctors can no longer do anything about?
It is a moral and ethical question and there is no right or wrong answer.
How do these doctors feel about the great beyond? Do they believe that there is one?
Do the people who are choosing to die believe there is something else? Are they eager to get there or to get away from the pain and suffering that their human existance has become?
The tv documentary also looked at the socioeconomics of the matter.
The fact that Vancouver Island has a lot of retired, well heeled and well educated people somehow plays into the scenario that they are more enlightened and able to make and carry out those kinds of choices.
While people in less educated and less wealthy areas and circles and countries may not have that kind of luxury, and may just have to get on with and put up with whatever God’s plan is for them in his own time.
The documentary didn’t get into the cost. Is it covered by the government? Are our taxes paying for the medication and doctors that assist with people’s choice to die? Is it covered by private insurance companies? Or do the willing-to-die-early folks have to pay for it out of their own pockets, as it should be?
I still don’t know where I stand on the matter.
To me it is akin to suicide, only having the duty shared.
And we all know what happens when someone commits suicide, don’t we?
Isn’t there a punishment of some sort in the great hereafter where we have to repeat our sentence here on the earthly plane?
Or is that just a lot of hooey.
I don’t know.
I do know that I did agree with the doctors when they said my younger brother should be removed from life support. That the bleed on his brain was so great that he would never regain consciousness. And if he did he would never return to normalcy. The damage done was too much.
I do know that I watched via Zoom video as a pastor performed his last rights, and the nurses removed the ventilator tube, and that I saw my brother’s last breath, last heart beat.
Was that a medically assisted death?
I don’t think so. I think that was the removal of the life support systems which were keeping my brother alive, without which he was unable to be alive.
Slightly different perhaps, but not by much.
And yes I have played god when pets have been sick or suffered catastrophic injuries and had to be put to sleep.
And it is not pleasant. It is heartbreaking.
But when people are allowed to make their own decisions about when they meet their Maker, is that different somehow?
The jury for me is still out.
I am proud to be born of a country such as Canada where choices are freedoms themselves.
We can make our own choices and decisions about so many things.
And now we can even choose when we want to end things.
In the meantime, I still feel we are all in God’s Waiting Room.
Heck, we can meet our Maker while crossing the street only to get hit by a bus!
We can collapse in a luxurious hotel room when our heart gives out.
We can all go at any time.
And the fact that we can choose to go when things are bad should only give us all more reason to live.


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