I have a living will. So far as I’m concerned, it is every adult’s responsibility to have a living will. It’s pretty brainless.
Living Will at LegalZoom.com *FREE*
Internet Legal Research Group – links to forms for all fifty states *FREE*
There are lots more out there. If you don’t trust “free”, then your local Staples or Office Min will have inexpensive fill-in-the-blank forms. Do yourself and your family a favor. Fill one out, and then TELL them your wishes. Make sure they know where your Living Will is kept (mine is with a copy of my will with the executrix).
The Terri Schiavo situation scares me. It is too late to save Terri Schiavo. Terry Schiavo died fifteen years ago, or at least that part of her brain that housed her hopes, dreams, personality, and her very ability to reason. And yet there is some sort of misguided movement out there that thinks that by prolonging the beating of a heart they are saving a life.
I have read in more than one place about that asinine “slippery slope” that we are purportedly once again sliding down. “The next will be the elderly in nursing homes or the permanently disabled.” If ludicrous exaggeration is the argument as to why Terri Schiavo needs her suffering prolonged, then permit me my own ludicrous exaggeration. Indeed, where will it all end? We’ve nearly developed the ability to stave death off completely. We have a moral obligation to stick a breathing tube and a feeding tube and an intravenous tube and a urinary catheter into every ninety-year-old out there. What? Pull the plug? That’s murder!
I won’t get into the science of this. There’s enough reported on that. Anyone who chooses to can educate themselves easily on what it means to be in a “vegetative state”. But it scares me that those who have not bothered to understand that basic reflexes such as blinking and sleeping and yes, even laughing and crying can be present in an otherwise permanently deadened mind could one day decide my fate.
It does not astonish me that grieving parents are unable to let go, even after fifteen years. It does astonish me that under oath those parents would say that if their child became diabetic they would choose to amputate all their child’s limbs and then put them through open heart surgery while they were in a persistently vegetative state, rather than let them go.
And it scares the shit out of me that thousands of activists out there have taken up the cause of parents who won’t let go and turned this into a “right to life” media circus.
I have a living will. I only hope that the people I love love me enough in return to respect it, should Terri Schiavo’s fate ever become mine. And I implore the courts to respect my wishes in this. The important part of me will already be dead. It’s only humane to allow the rest to follow.