Timeless Spirit LogoAUNTY NASTY

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Key to Heaven"
Volume 3 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Aunty Nasty
with Nasturtium Blackwitt PhD. M.E.D., F.D. (Min. H.R.D.F.), Pr. Dip. P.K.C.

Warning: Some readers may find her opinions abrasive, disturbing, or even *gasp* offensive!

The fear of DEATH is a real "biggie" for many of my clients. Whether it's facing the issue of their mortality in general, or specifically contemplating the gradual loss of their capabilities on the downward spiral to a helpless state preceding the final moment… The thought scares the crap out of so many people.

In olden times, death was considered a normal stage in the evolution of life. We are born, we grow, we mature, we bear, we wither, and then we die. End of story. Rather like the stages of plant life in the garden.

"The deceased" might be laid out for family and friends to come and bid a last "goodbye", before the burial. The honouring of the body, whilst a solemn process, can often also include a reliving of joyful memories.

But in many cultures, funerals are still a clangingly solemn, tearful occasion, leaning heavily on the aspect of mourning. And just who are we mourning for? Surely the star of the event feels no loss now, so we're actually grieving for ourselves.

Of course it isn't always like this. Let me give you a couple of descriptions of other customs:

In New Orleans (where the dead have to be buried above the ground, because of the high water-table) you might see a parade of musicians and colourfully dressed family and friends, all dancing and joyfully escorting the coffin from the church to the graveyard.

And then take the Irish, (oh puuleese, take the Irish)… with their traditional rollicking wakes. "Lesh ave a goin' away bash for the auld sod. He was a good ole bugger, an all". Songs were sung, everyone toasted the corpse until they got totally plastered, and they all told stories, good and bad, truth or lies, about the exploits they had shared with their dead comrade. It was one hell of a party!

Now that was looking reality square in the face, and having a laugh at Death. But it seems these days; everybody tries to avoid using the terms "died", or "dead". Have you noticed the tremendous amount of euphemisms used in our language, instead of the word "death"? What hypocrisy!

Instead of the person saying "I'm sorry to tell you, Mr. Smith died"; you hear all this fancy word-shuffling, saying everything else but. It's all rather confusing.

For example:

After all that, we just might get some clarity, such as: "Mr. Smith is no longer in the land of the living". Ah, now we're getting somewhere. Am I correct in assuming you're telling me Mr. Smith is dead? And while I'm on the subject of death and hypocrisy, one of the most ridiculous examples of blatant hypocrisy is in the difference between the way we treat people and animals.

You've all heard similar stories… someone has a beloved pet that is tragically wounded, or perhaps has reached the end of its life span. The poor animal is doddering around, cannot walk without great pain, is becoming incontinent, or senile, or biting the family: (you fill in the blanks). Many people choose to not prolong this poor animal's agony, and so they take it to the Veterinary Hospital for the procedure termed "euthanasia". Sometimes they speak a bit more plainly, saying they are going to have the animal "put down". Well, guess what? They are going to have the animal killed. Rendered totally dead. And these folks are lauded as "responsible pet owners".

So where do we get off, treating a human being with less respect and dignity than an animal? There are so many examples of humans with terminal illness who wish to end their life while they still have some dignity. And are they allowed to do this? NO!

Oh, and by the way, in most countries it's against the law to commit suicide. If you try, and are successful, well O.K. But if you try, and fail, they can throw you in jail for failing. Good grief, just how civilised is this 21st. century? MANY MOONS AD

In North America and Britain, for instance, "assisted suicide" is against the law. So some poor soul has to waste away to nothing, with no control over their bodily functions, suffering the indignity of it all in a hospital or a nursing home, while waiting to die by natural causes. What a farce! And if some brave person helps the terminally ill to die any sooner, they can be slapped in jail for their trouble. Would you want to be a nurse or a doctor in this position? I think not.

Yeah, I know, it's the "ethics" of it which come into question. Are we playing God? If there's a person in hospital in a brain-dead condition, on life-support systems, don't the family have the option of "pulling the plug?" Isn't this the same as euthanasia? It certainly isn't the same as "assisted suicide", because the strictly legal definition in this case specifies the "client" (or the potential "victim of the killing") must be able to either press a switch, or drink a potion, or in some way actively participate in the process set up to end their life.

Recently I heard that in Switzerland there are some "Societies" which one can "join", who will arrange all the details in a nice tidy package. Of course, they have Doctors and Psychiatrists on staff to make sure the "client" is not just some nut, suicidal and depressed over a broken love affair, but truly terminally ill with no chance of recovery.

When they are satisfied you are a bona fide client, travel arrangements are made, (one way of course), a nice hotel room is booked, and the "client" is carefully advised of the particulars of the mechanics of their demise. Often, they are required to actually lift the glass and drink the potion, which will make them peacefully fall asleep. Once they are unconscious, the rest of the deadly drug kicks in, and their breathing stops. Game over. It's as simple as that. Is this "civilised", or what?

If we are considered "responsible pet owners" when we terminate the life of an animal under certain circumstances, why the heck can we not be considered "responsible people" if it is a human being in the same situation? Tell me, is this humane?

All I know is; if I had a terminal disease ~ with no chance of recovery or cure ~ and knew the course of the disease would waste me away while I waited to die; (or worse, taking away my mind as well as my body) ~ I sure as hell wouldn't wish myself on any relative or nurse!

You wouldn't catch me sticking around. I'd be on the first plane to Switzerland!

Ms. Blackwitt is a noted psychologist who specialises in dysfunctional behavioural and abnormal sociological interaction. Her column features insightful commentaries on familial relationships, as viewed from her unique perspective.

Affectionately known as 'Aunty Nasty', amongst her many honours and awards are a Ph. D in 'Mammalian Excretement Dispersal' and a Degree of Familiarity with The Ministry of Human Remains and Dysfunctional Families.

Ms.Blackwitt also served in the Armed Forces on a 6-year tour of duty as a Diplomatic Peace-Keeper in Washington, D.C., during which time she rose to the top of her team, quickly attaining the exalted rank of Private, and was subsequently transferred to Bikini Atoll, (with undisclosed rank) where she gained extensive hands-on experience in Mammalian Excrement.

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