We just finished reading a book, an epistolary novel, and a very good one at that, too. At the end “R”, the character to whom all the letters are addressed over a forty year period, appears briefly only to leap from a quarry wall and dashe his brains out on the rocks below. A Polish priest rushes over to him as he lies bloody and not quite yet dead, and blesses him.
Since this all happens in a concentration camp somewhere in Germany, the guards, cheated of their prey, and enraged at the priest club that poor man to death, while “R” sees and sheds a tear. The tear, “seen by Another” in the words of the author saves him. It is a happy ending. Of course the book is by a Catholic author, so what else would one expect. Catholicism…Christianity…is all about happy endings.
“R” had spent his life in a prodigality of sin, coming to realize in the darkness of the concentration camp that there was no reason to continue living. Choosing death in this life was his final gesture of waste and uselessness. Of course, what better place to do so than in a concentration camp, a place whose sole purpose is to use up and discard as useless the lives we have been given, the State not only allowing it, but positively encouraging it, assisting it and participating in it?
But once State organized and controlled death appears, no one is safe from it. That is the lesson which should have been learned. Alas, look at Holland.
But, you need not go that far away. Look at Oregon. There Death has come to live, taken up residence, cast his dark shadow over the state. And no one cares that Death is growing fat on Oregonians who like “R” have grown tired with life; even in what I am reliably informed is a beautiful place to live. No concentration camp, Oregon. There the state has many able surrogates and quieter more subtle ways to assist Death’s dark purpose. He has learned to smile, to walk softly, to creep ever more secretly. But, it will not be long before State and Death dance openly in Oregon. For now, quiet, Death works.
I was interested to read this from the report: ” The most commonly expressed concerns of those dying from physician-assisted suicide were unchanged from previous reports: less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable, losing autonomy, and loss of dignity.”
The term used often to describe those whose conditions, whatever they were, made them “less able, autonomous and dignified’ was “Lebens Unwertes Leben”; lives unworthy of life. The decision is theirs, now, in Oregon. And the lovers of death do nothing, it seems to try to persuade them otherwise. That will change, too.. If you look at the numbers, it has already begun to do so. There are no brutish guards with rifle butts to club those who would help, yet. That may be simply because there are none who will come to the side of the despairing dying ones and bless them on their way.
Death can be so lonely.
Who will see your tears?