Soon after the COVID-19 crisis finishes, Tasmania will have to vote on a euthanasia Bill.
Many say that they should be able to end their lives when they choose. But, as Pastor Ian Dunn and Professor Ian Olver AM explain, the ‘final chapter’ of our lives can change everything.
Listen to these stories!
Christopher Brohier, South Australia Director and Acting Tasmania Director, interviews Pastor Ian Dunn: the final chapter
Story 1: A man diagnosed with cancer and living alone tried to take his life but survived the attempt.
“They put him in intensive care and brought him through. I visited him and he was very angry. He felt that we had let him down by calling an ambulance, that it was his decision, he had no reason for living and therefore we were unkind to him in keeping him alive. I disagreed and said, God knows what is the best time. Even now He may have something planned for you. Of course, he laughed.
“He rang about three days later and said, Ian would you come down? I would like to talk with you.
“I went down. There was a man sitting next to him on the bed. This man went out of the room.
“The man turned to me and said, ‘It’s a miracle. That was my son. He heard that I was sick. I haven’t spoken to him for over 20 years. He flew down to see me. We have talked through all of the problems of why we were separated and our harmony and fellowship has been restored. I am so delighted.
“I said, You must be very happy that you didn’t die. He said, I sure am.
About 4-5 days later he rang me again. Asked me to come down.
“He said, Over the weekend, my grandchildren who had gone to live overseas with their mother after she was divorced from my son and I haven’t seen them for 20 years. They all got on a plane and came to Adelaide just to see me. We were able to restore our harmony and fellowship. I am so delighted.
“I said, God had a plan for you. Not only has God dealt kindly with you but also with your son and your grandchildren, because they know now that you will die but they will have been in fellowship with you.
“As I left, he said, Ian, I’m ready to die when God wants to take me.
“When I went through that experience it brought home, sometimes it will be extra pain, but ultimately God knows what He’s doing and He does it right.”
Ian, I’m ready to die when God wants to take me.
Story 2: A young man’s father lay unresponsive, dying, and Ian was asked to speak to him about Jesus.
“I had never met him. I told him the message of the Lord Jesus as simply as I could as I knew this man had not had much experience in Christian things.
“When I finished I said to him, I would love to pray with you because you realise even now in the last few hours of your life, if you decide to follow Jesus He in great grace and forgiveness will accept you into his family so that when you die you will go to be with him. If you would like to make that decision, I’m happy to pray on your behalf, then would you please open your eyes.
“With that, the man opened his eyes and then closed them again. I believe at that point he became a child of God. That man died a few hours afterwards.”
Christopher Brohier interviews Professor Ian Olver AM: the final chapter
Story 3: A middle aged woman with three teenage daughters, recovered twice from cancer, eventually bed-ridden with cancer and wanted to die.
“One of the things she told us was, ‘I can’t do anything more for my family.’
“When we asked the family, they didn’t care about that. They just wanted to be with her for a bit longer.
“She discovered that she was valuable for being rather than doing.
“The second thing was, she was worried about the mode of her death. She had disease in the lungs and she watched her father die a difficult death with shortness of breath from lung cancer. She didn’t want to suffer the same way.
“I reassured her that we could slow her breathing, stop the awful air-hunger feeling – we could make her quite comfortable with the use of opiates.
She discovered that she was valuable for being rather than doing.
“When we sent her home, the youngest daughter was really upset with us. She was literally screaming at the doctors and nurses. I went to the mother and told her that and said, your daughter will benefit from having a bit more time with you.
“The mother withdrew her request for euthanasia. Over the next five days, until she died, the daughter sat with her each day, and over that time adapted to the situation so that she had a more normal grief reaction which would help in her recovery subsequently. The mother benefited as well.
“If we had just accepted on face value the mother’s request to die, none of that important stuff would have happened over the five days for both the mother and the daughter. That situation is replicated many times in terminal illnesses.”
The final chapter of life can be so, so precious. That’s why we must press our politicians for proper palliative care, not euthanasia.