By Johanne R. Macob
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
GOT that quote from a book I am so in love with, which was eventually given a movie adaptation. A few days ago, a good friend and I watched the film, and like the book, it gave me the shivers. A day after that movie date, I learned that my cousin, with three daughters to fend for, just lost her 37-year-old husband. Life just seems crazy sometimes, indeed.
To backtrack a little, the story of the book/film I have mentioned revolves around a wealthy character that got paralyzed due to an accident. He used to be a very animated and athletic man, and the accident got him really depressed. He was so down that he only agreed to live six months paralyzed and eventually gave up on life, went to an institution which advocates “to live with dignity, to die with dignity.” Not even the prospect of a happy life with a potential partner was successful in changing his plan for “an assisted suicide.”
I was so engrossed in and intrigued with the story that I actually looked if the institution called ‘Dignitas’ really exists. And it does! It is “a Swiss non-profit member’s society providing assisted/accompanied suicide to members of the organization who suffer from terminal illness and/or severe physical and/or mental illnesses, supported by (of the organization independent) qualified Swiss doctors.” Since 1998, the group has assisted over 2,100 people die at home in Switzerland and at their own flat near Zurich. “We are the spearhead for the worldwide implementation of ‘the last human right,’” its website stated.
I know in our country that what Dignitas does will be a great topic for debate. Personally, I, a lover of life, will never agree to any “assisted suicide” whatever the case may be. Our life is not ours, it was given to us and it is never our call to end it. I may not understand the pain that terminally ill people, who may be considering ending their lives, are going through but I do believe in hope, miracles and faith.
I lost my father at an early age and lately, and so did my cousin who lost her husband at an early age. I questioned God why my father and not somebody else’s father had to die instead; perhaps my cousin might be wondering too why her young daughters will have to suffer not having their father around anymore. I’m sure many other people have had the same experience but eventually, we realize that life is simply unpredictable, that life is not always nice and rosy, that it always tests us… but that it is, still, a good life, after all.
As they say, “you only live once,” and we will never know when this one life would be taken from us. So with all these uncertainties we get to face everyday, I hope we are where we like to be, or at least, in a place that we know will lead to us where we want to be, and that we value those that really need to be appreciated and loved. Life may be short, or long, it doesn’t matter anyway. All we need to know is whether our life is meaningful or not. It’s a responsibility to live the most meaningful life possible.
I think this was also the message the book/movie wanted to put across.
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