faith · social issues

On Euthanasia…

What a heavy topic to return to blogging on, hey?

Just quickly I would like to say thank you to my followers. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus as I finish my study (just 30 hours of placement to go!) but this blog is nonetheless always there for me when I’ve got something I feel I need/want to share with the world. It doesn’t matter if those draft thoughts never leave my head, knowing I have this space and even better people who are interested, is a wonderful blessing.

But back to this topic, yep, I’m going there….Euthanasia.

It came up at bookclub last night, as the last dregs lingered on around the table discussing work, life, financial planning and end of life.

The state of Victoria recently passed assisted dying laws which came into effect this month. I do not support these laws and pray other states do not follow suit – why? Quite simply because I am a christian. Is that a good enough reason to support protests against these laws for other people, mostly non-christian? That is a very good question.

I believe God is in ultimate control of our lives, and despite a fallen world with pain and injustice, I believe God is good. Despite daily questioning of His will and ways I trust Him and am content (relatively!) to leave my life and death in His hands. This choice became very clear to me when I was presented with the option (opportunity?) to terminate my second pregnancy. Whilst the medical reality for my child was very scary, abortion was never really an option – life is a gift. A gift I believe God chooses the time for giving and taking away. A gift I am more than happy to put into His capable hands, placing my trust in Him.

At this time in my life it also became really clear to me why people might choose differently to me. Without faith in God, given the option of a life of likely pain and challenges for your child versus regulated safe termination (death), I can see how it could be  a decision of love rather than perhaps convenience.

sunset-sky-sun-cloud-48207

So when at the other end of life and someone is facing certain death, via painful disease or illness, yes the loving choice could be termination. I still choose however to believe and trust in God. I don’t understand why he allows people to linger in pain but I do believe He is all-loving and all-knowing and I do believe there can be continued purpose and meaning in life.

I have not experienced constant pain and I have no idea what it’s like, so it can easily be asked, what right do I have to say how a non-christian chooses to end their life?

I’m not sure I can justify my beliefs….I DO wish for all people to come to know God as I do and to trust in Him….but I also acknowledge free-will. So I guess I don’t think that my choice is anymore valid than yours but I do believe I have the right to express it and continue to make decisions based on my faith, even if they affect others with different beliefs.

I have experienced the death of two grandmothers from bowel cancer. Both had lived long and blessed lives. My Dad shares what a privilege it was to be sitting nearby as his Mum took her last breaths. My mother cared for her Mum at her home until her death, which she too experienced as a great honour and privilege. It was interesting to hear an uncles perspective, who also helping with care saw it as cruelty for his Mum. I’m sure my Mum didn’t find it pleasant and wished for the suffering to end but I believe she also believed the care was dignified and an appropriate way to die.

I guess I wonder why we assume death should be painless? I think many are afraid of death and wish for it to be as uncomplicated as possible….I don’t think that’s realistic, as with all of life, the real picture often isn’t pretty but nonetheless invaluable.

I’m wondering now how to end this…..I feel I’m done.

Would love for any thoughts, alternative views, questions to be shared

GJ

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faith · parenting · Uncategorized

Just another part of farm life

The other morning our son was waking up (in our bed of course!) and his first question of the day was,

‘Harry is a baby?’ – ‘yes Harry is a baby’ – we have good friends with a nearly one year old Harry who C absolutely dotes on but that wasn’t the Harry he was talking about…

‘Harry is dead?’ ahhh ‘yes our Harry is dead.’

‘Roo is dead?’ – ‘yes Roo is dead’ and then he got up to watch cartoons.

These questions just come from nowhere. His big sister had mentioned Harry the other day at our local park where we donated a fundraising brick with all three of their names on it, but other than that we hadn’t been talking about our Harry. And Roo? Well he was an old much-loved farm dog who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Death is everywhere. Just yesterday my father in law had to shoot one of our younger dogs who had yet again been chasing the rams. Three had already been killed this year by the dogs and they are not cheap. My husband explained to me that FIL had chained him up in front of the other dogs and shot him, he was still lying there when he left work for the day. It sounds awful, it IS awful, I feel horrible for my FIL as I know it would not have been a nice job. But the farm is a business, our rams provide our income and the dogs I guess are workers, they need to listen and learn and this dog had continued repeating his mistakes.

My husband last night at tea explained to our daughter that this incident was the worst part of his day. I commented after his brief description to her of what had happened, that we don’t shoot humans.

We also had a pet lamb die recently and C continues to comment regularly ‘Lamby died 😦 ‘

Death tends to be a part of life for farm kids, in addition my children have experienced my grandparents, an aunt and their brothers passing. Fortunately as christians we can also talk to them about the promise of eternal life through Jesus, about heaven. I appreciate that my children are introduced to death early in their lives, that it is not taboo for them. Their comments and questions sure pull at the heart strings though.

 

GJ

 

ps Sorry to the animal lovers, I hope you don’t read into this post cruelty against animals, if you do I don’t think you understand the realitites of farming but I am more than happy to discuss further

pps At 29 death has been following me too closely recently, the anniversary of my friends death through cancer passed recently and I have again lost loved ones this year – is that what happens when we grow up?

pps I have had the time to write this post thanks to hubby driving past on a tractor and picking up C for a ride, both my children and I are so blessed to experience life on a farm

God bless

life · political · Uncategorized

Small Communities

I may be biased, but country towns rock. I am so very fortunate and blessed to be part of a number of small country communities and this week I was inspired by another community to write about just how wonderful they are.

My Communities (in an attempted nutshell)

  • Family – immediate, extended and in-laws
  • Church Family – immediate, parish, state, country, world and heaven wide
  • Sporting community (for us football and cricket)
  • Town Community (state and country)
  • Various other small group/club communities
    • (think I may be pushing the definition of communities out a bit on this one)

Yesterday I attended a wedding for a beautiful couple from one of my communities. I love weddings and that feeling of looking around at your people and knowing just how blessed you are.

A seemingly common theme in my blog, death, is also a time for reflecting on those in your community and often it brings out and shows the strength of a community. From my cousins family…

“Thank you seems such a small word to say as we reflect on the enormous amount of love and support given to our family in the days that followed our beloved’s passing. We know as we write this letter that we are still not fully aware of all that was done for us during that time, as many of you acted anonymously or in a “behind the scenes” manner.
Your kindness, love, hugs, gifts of food, flowers, words of support and encouragement, warm presence and heartfelt sympathy embraced and comforted us. We were humbled by the magnitude of grace this amazing community possesses.
Your protective assistance with the unwelcome media attention was also very much appreciated.
His funeral service made us all incredibly proud of the man he was and the life he lived. Seeing thousands of people behind us, some of whom had travelled from all over the country, made us realise just how many lives he has touched. His larger than life personality stuck with every person he met and his memory lives on within each and every one of you.
The beauty of memory is that we hold it in our hearts forever. We will never forget the kindness and compassion you have shown us.”

 

A community is a place you belong, another family, a village for your children – in my experience a group of people you can rely on through thick and thin.

 

And lastly changing the tone a little and thinking about a community way out of my realm

To the Syrian regime,
Listen to the echo of my voice.
In my eyes this world has become lifeless.
In one moment I lost my country.
But these are your people too.
My heart’s broken because you’ve betrayed my country
And the life of this generation is destroyed.

 

To my people,
Be patient.
This crisis has shown you that your country is a treasure
But you see that it is only now that you have lost it.

 

(from The Lutheran vol. 50 no.2)
life · Uncategorized

Those Moments

I want to write about two things today – both are moments that make you stop and take stock, one more positive than the other, and we’ll start with that.

I’ve been extra in love with my kids this week – do you ever have times like that where they just seem extra cute and you have the energy to really appreciate them? Could quite likely be a little boys birthday coming up making me especially sentimental but I’ve found myself this week just wishing at numerous times to stop and take a photo, find some way to capture and remember their joy for life, their love for me and each other and their uniqueness. I love these moments!

Unfortunately I’ve experienced other moments which I have no fear of forgetting – they will always remain, the experience of answering those dreaded phone calls

There was a funeral last week of a fun and cheerful man, a loving husband and a fantastic father. He was my cousins husband. I was doing work at Mum and Dads when my uncle rang – I chatted to him easily, giving him his sisters mobile number and then he told me the reason for his call – this man had died whilst on a bucks show…utter devastation.

 

And it took me back to 2011 when in the early hours of the morning I received  a phone call from my husbands brother’s father in law. I was standing at our phone with speaker on, unable to find the cordless when he asked me to sit down. I thought immediately of the baby that had just been born, but no this man’s daughter had died, was gone – how could this be…

Two things in life nothing can every prepare you for – the love you feel for your children and the overwhelming sadness of loss.

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.’

Alfred Lord Tennyson

related post – https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/22410977/933132246

Uncategorized · work

God at work

I had one of those experiences today when you see God at work in your day to day life.

Noticed in last weeks local paper that one of my clients who was palliative care had passed away. Had a chance between client’s today to call his widow – she sounded better than I expected but had to end the call when overcome with tears. It was her second attempt to say good-bye to me so I guess I wondered if I’d overstepped. I made a note to myself to send a sympathy card.

Finished my last client with plenty of time spare to pick up my daughter from school, was planning to park in the car park there to finish off some notes but as I was getting close to the widow’s road I wondered if I should call in. I decided to pull over on her road to do my notes, to see if my urge was God-driven or maybe self-indulgent, would it be for me (to make sure I hadn’t offended) or for her benefit.

I was a bit slow to listen to God’s answer as I tried catching up on my work – there was both an email and text message relevant to the widow, with 15 minutes left to pick up I rang and asked if I could pop in, ‘that would be lovely’ was the reply.

Next I experienced the best hug of the day. With tears in our eyes she told me about how his pain relief in the last two weeks had not been adequate, her regrets at not being strong enough to stand up for him, her sadness at not being there when he passed away despite having asked to sleep in a spare bed in the room. And then I had to go. She told me I was the first she shared these regrets with – Thank you Lord that I could be there. Sorry Lord I didn’t have more time. I will go back.

I was late to pick up my daughter…..but at the start of the day her teacher had checked if I was available to chat after school, so I knew as I was driving, that I would be expected (she sometimes takes the bus) and that she would be cared for. God had prepared us that morning so I could be there for my client’s wife.

 

*    a few side notes, follow up care is soo important, however in my work we are not paid to follow up with the families of our clients. But who better to support people in their grief than those who knew their loved ones health issues? (actually not saying we are the best to do it, but I think it would be wonderful if we were given the opportunity to find out if we can help)

** Secondly how important is palliative care?? Proper palliative care would have seen my client’s pain needs better attended to and his family better supported, without his daughter having to advocate so strongly on their behalf. Confronting death is hard enough without extra regrets to feel guilty about.

***Read this article recently on the need for better palliative care funding in Australia https://theconversation.com/a-good-death-australians-need-support-to-die-at-home-32203

Uncategorized

Talking about sports… or death

I’ve kinda committed in my head to a blog a week and so far I’ve kept on track. Therefore the pressure is on today to get another post done by tomorrow. I have a few drafts to pull ideas from – like this article on the importance of talking about death (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/death-discussing-any-age-leads-happy-life-expert-says/6642412) but….

It’s a beautiful day here in South Australia. A perfect lazy Sunday afternoon for watching our AFL team Adelaide Crows play #2 on the ladder. Been awhile since I’ve caught one of their games. My priority is our local team, talking of which they made it into the grand final yesterday!!! Our netball teams are in too, so next weekend is going to be a big one. Finals fever in full action.

So it’s decision time – here I am looking out my window at the gorgeous blue sky, with the daffodils I bought sitting in view on the kitchen table, am I going to talk about the good news or the bad. Am I looking forward excitedly to the medal count night or thinking about my chance to say good-bye to my dear friend at his funeral the next day?

‘Talking about death is key to busting a cultural taboo that impacts our quality of life’ an expert claims in the article linked above. Most will know the importance of sport in Australia’s cultural identity. Most will also have been impacted by the cursed disease that is cancer. So which is the better topic for a blog post?

I have to admit I’m a bit over the death topic its been weighing me down and featuring the last few posts and its not what I want my blog to be about. Unfortunately as a traveler on this earth it affects me and truth is one day it will be me. “We are all going to face death over and over again throughout our lives. We need to prepare for it so it’s not an ongoing challenge ” says Professor Broom. He also said ‘people’s fear made death hard to think about, let alone discuss’. And here’s where I have an advantage – my death or the death of most of my loved ones is not an ultimate fear. I have faith that they will live on in a much better place. I believe in heaven and I believe through Jesus I have the assurance of ending up there.

I’ll finish off back at the footy. My team won by a whopping 57 points 🙂 While death may be all around us and certainly should be discussed (including with children…perhaps a post for another day), life is for living and its the small things in life sunshine, snuggling and a footy win which in the end make it all worthwhile.

Uncategorized

And then the tears came… (the incident of the flat tyre)

So let me share a little story….

Last night did not quite go to plan – I set off for town just on time and started to hear a weird thumping noise. It sounded like it was coming from the tyre but wasn’t constant so I figured it was just the road. I don’t drive our smaller car often and bumps are always much more noticeable in it. Weird noises continued though and even if the car wasn’t wobbling i knew I needed to check the tyres – especially after going around a corner – yep a shredded tyre, good work GJ.

I quickly realized the cars interior lights wouldn’t be enough to guide me, thankfully I had mobile reception and tried the neighbours where Hubby was working – no answer. I was kinda relieved about the light situation actually as it meant I could call for help and not have to manage it on my own. Next I tried my brother-in-law he was out for tea and had had a few too many drinks to be of assistance. Tried the neighbours again and just got hold of hubby before he headed home. He wasn’t keen to come though (no knight in shining armour for me) and as we talked I worked out I would be able to use the flashlight on my phone – bugger I would have to do it on my own.

I’d say it took me about half hour to get started and I finally had my cry. I didn’t want to let my friend down (who ended up seeing the show on her own), I didn’t want to have to do it on my own ( I spent half that time thinking of different options to call and rescue me), I didn’t think I had the strength to do it on my own (those nuts are really hard) and to be honest with phone reception, music in the car and beautiful stars in the sky all I really wanted to do was sit and enjoy some more alone time – but I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t just do nothing and eventually the nuts gave way.

Then I had to work out the jack. For which I sadly had to call hubby back for assistance (in my defence it was the first time I’d changed a tyre by myself in this car, and it happened to be at night when I was feeling emotional). I thought I’d broken the car when it still didn’t seem to be working so another call and hubby was on his way. I did get the tyre up while I waited but couldn’t get it off by myself anyway.

So such was my night, I got back put the kids to bed and indulged in more tv series dvd-ing. I asked hubby if I had been moody, he thinks I’m just tired and so it is I’m worn out.

And there just seems to be a lot of death lately my bone cancer client, my new friends family member, 3 of my online mums group Mums have had recent deaths in their families, my darling high school friend is in hospice care and my sister is in hospital for treatment of her chronic mental health condition. I was about to say none of this had directly impacted on me this last week but of course it all has either directly – a client I’m helping care for, a friend who had to change a catch up or indirectly – people on my mind and in my prayers.

The sun is shining today and I think I can let my melancholy go but sometimes we need to stop and feel sad and cry.