Follow
Share

Is there a time and place when suicide is the only logical solution?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Dear Gamate (Grieving Daughter): My heart goes out to you. I cannot answer from experience with any family members. but forgive me (and I hope no one finds this offensive) I can relate my experience from the standpoint of the emotional attachment and love for my beloved litte dog who I decided, after 3 false starts, to have the vet put him down. It was so hard to make that decision, because I loved him so much (14 yrs old) and could not imagine not having him in my life. But he was suffering - he was helpless, his quality of life was very poor, and he would never get better. I finally came to the conclusion that I was considering my own feelings of 'attachment' rather than considering how I was allowing him to continue suffering.

But your Mom is not "suffering" per se, and we are not talking about taking any drastic action to give her a shot and immediately end her life. It's the *decision-making process* that is the emotionally gut-wrenching issue: about whether to let her die a natural death, or let her hang on for who knows how many more years in an essentially brain dead state.

11 years is a long time for a person to be hanging on without any quality of life. I take it your Mom did not have an Advance Care directive? In that, she would have stated her wishes were the situation to arise that you described. It would have taken the decision-making process off of your shoulders. If I were you, I would review the legal documents (that you hopefully do have) regarding your mother's health and care and see if that gives you a clue on how to proceed.

It sounds like she may have reached the point of brain death (communication-wise). If you have no other mechanical devices hooked up, and if the feeding tube were removed, I believe her breathing would eventually slow and her heart would weaken over a period of time until it stopped, causing her to die a natural death. I believe that's the way it works. Others on this site may know better.

Your family members have already indicated to you that they would have no ill feelings if you "let her go". I don't know how empathetic the doctor is, but I would ask him to explain in detail the exact process that takes place after removing the feeding tube. The hospice nurses can also give you some accurate information based on their expertise and experience. Another thing to keep in mind is that if it were not for modern medicine and life-saving devices, your Mom might have passed already.

Beyond that, all that is left is to pray. Pray for our Lord's guidance, your Mother's peace and tranquility, and peace in your heart. You will know when the time is right. God bless you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom is 72 yrs old and as been living with a Feeding tube for over 11 years now. She had a stroke after having a brain tuner removed, and has been unable to do anything for her self. Her over all health is ok except the g- tube is her life support. Without it she would not be alive. She has no quality of life and she doesn't respond in anyway to anyone anymore her dr.s think it's time to remove the feeding tube and let her go. I have gotten so used to her being in this state.

But I struggle with this because not sure what the right thing to do is. I have nt talked with 1 person who would want to live like this including myself or any other member of my Family. So WHY is this decision so hard?

She deserves peace and comfort, but yet I still don't know how to let her go?

Help!

Grieving Daughter
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Jenny, I have been at a loss over what to say to you in this post to commisserate and offer any additional support than others have already done. Tonight I was just surfing through this site and just happened to see your funny comments in the 'grossed out' thread and LMAO! That assured me you are OK and still have a sense of humor to get you through the rough times. Hang in there - a good laugh goes a long way. We are all here to prop eachother up through the tough days. Blessings and stay well!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

So where is Jenny?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom is 88, lives in ever worsening chronic pain on a daily basis with degenerative spine disease and severe scholiosis, not a day goes by that she does not wish for death to come. She is under the care of a very good pain management specialist who has done everything he can, and nothing helps. We talk about her impending death very often, and what I will need to take care of as her only survivor able to take care of things. I too pray for her death sometimes when she is in so much pain and those devious little pills don't even work, but then I am consumed with guilt...all part of being a caregiver I suppose. I fear that someday she will ask me to end her life, but we have talked about that as well, and she states she would never do that to me. I often think what a shame it is when we can do for animals what we can't do for humans legally, decide when there is no quality of life left and send them on to a better place. My continuing hope and prayer is that God will take her from this earth when it is her time and he knows that she can no longer bear the pain. I will miss her, but I will let her go freely, and assure her that I will be OK and will take care of things for her in the best way I can and she can go to join her husband and son in that better place. God Bless us all, and especially those who are suffering and those who love them.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Fair warning, this post is going to be somewhat graphic about death.

When JennyM asked, "when the pain greatly out does the pleasure and there is no hope for improvement.. " is suicide a logical solution, I assumed she was referring to physical conditions, where pain management is no longer helping. Depression is quite another thing and the other answers hold merit.

Hospice care is designed around the premise of giving the individual quality of life, at the end of life. Once the PCP has diagnosed a terminal illness, there isn't even a question asked by the attending physician at the time of death .. the death certificate will state cause of death as the underlying illness/condition. For instance, although my mother's lung cancer was in full remission, it had already metastasized to bone cancer. During her last days, she ate and drank nothing, at first by conscious choice, then due to the morphine-induced coma. Her kidneys eventually failed and the immediate/direct cause of death was kidney failure. Official cause of death? Lung Cancer. Despite no trace of it would have been found in an autopsy.

While we knew she was dying, we did a lot of research into our choices; read a lot about euthenasia or physician assisted death. We talked to the Hospice nurse. She was extremely careful in advising us to avoid certain lethal combinations of medications, "you have to be careful of (____) or you could kill her." She also said things like, "If we gave the same daily dose of morphine that we give your mom to an elephant, it would die. Her body has acclimated." We withdrew all her meds for her to be lucid long enough to tell us what she wanted, with her family circled around her bed. she said, clearly "Let me go." And pressed a button she thought contained a lethal dose (it didn't, but we had to be sure).

Yes. There are times when it's not only logical, it's decent and humane, in my not so humble opinion. However, unless you live in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Vermont and are consciously able, with a physician's assistance to press your own button, it's not a legal (or ethical?) choice. And no physician who wants to retain his/her license and avoid a prison sentence is going to assist someone who is "just depressed." (Clinical Depression is a serious condition and needs treatment. No debate, there.)

So, I'm going to continue with the assumption that JennyM was not referring to depression.

******
As for how others respond to someone's suicide .. I've been clinically depressed and I can tell you that, at that point, I could have pointed to each and every person/relative in my life and said, with a clear, sure conscience, "they don't CARE, why should I?" It just doesn't factor. And it didn't matter that I wasn't right.

Suggesting to someone who has a painful, joy-free end on the near horizon that they're depressed is, at the very least, insensitive, and at worst, cruel. Despite the fact that it may also be true .. it's not helpful. Antidepressants and therapy aren't going to lessen the physical pain or improve their chances of survival.

To be sure .. we should rule out depression as the sole cause of suicidal thoughts. I'm not discounting that. It's a possible factor. But, if that's out of the equation .. what else is there?

******
I wish I could think of a way to end this post on a positive note. THIS conversation is difficult and depressing .. but I think it's one we all need to have. To know our own answers. And to live the best life that we can, for as long as we have. I want dignity at my end. And I want to control it. I think everyone has that right.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Suicidal tendencies run in the family. My 22 year old nephew succeeded. There are real scars and the mental ones as well. When the pain doesn’t go away and you are pondering ending it, playing it over and over in your head like a movie it is time to get yourself help fast. Call someone, tell them what you want to do and have then take you to an ER. Be near the place they will be sending you for protection or the police will take you and charge you or and ambulance if your insurance don’t cover it. It just takes one more thought and it can be over. Once you get help and on meds and freinds to stay with you for a bit after your release, you may feel better. If not, talk to you Dr. as soon as possible and keep friends or a family member with you and sign a promise note not to do anything until you see the dr. or back to ER again. I hated those hospitals but they helped me to watch for warning signs, educated me and some of those nurses were mean and I never wanted to see them again!! It’s been since 1996, my last attempt. I stay close to my psychiatrist and counseling helps as they can see any significant changes or behaviors that need immediate attention. Yes, always hope.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

The majority of people cling to life until their last breath or when someone whispers in their ear, 'It’s ok, you can go now. ‘ Some pass on after being in a coma for a week or so and wake up for a bit just to say a few words. Some fight to the very end. Some think they are about to die and decide to let go and get better. Then die a few years later or even much longer. Some want to die and do it themselves. Myself,I would be afraid to go. I would hate to see others suffer while I am and I am one my way out. I would prefer to say my good-byes sooner and just maybe have the courage to do myself in with some good music playing and tears. I really don’t know, I am not there yet but I truly sympathize with those that suffer so much from anything that makes their situation so. It is good to talk and share. It’s nice to sleep and dream good dreams. It’s wonderful others do truly care.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Jenny,
I want to answer you as someone who has suicidal thoughts, and NOT the belief that suicide is just plain wrong. But I also had to deal when my husband's closest friend killed himself, and how upsetting that was.

In my opinion, if the physical pain is that bad, and can't be relieved enough, and death is just a matter of time, that is the only time I would really consider suicide - doing it, not thinking about it! (I think about it often, but kind of superficially.)

Andrew Solomon in "The Noonday Demon" tells about his mother choosing that path when she had terminal cancer, and how it plunged him into a depression. That is a very good book about depression, its causes, and treatments.

Are you in pain, or are you in psychic pain? If you are in physical pain, have you truly tried every avenue to get it treated? There is hospice, and there are pain clinics where they do unusual things to treat chronic pain.

If you are in psychic or emotional pain, it can seem worse, because people are always telling you to look on the bright side, as if you could do that! I suffered from medium depression for most of my life. Most people never suspected, because I was also cheerful a lot of the time. But the depression was always lying in wait.

I would hate to see you choose to end your life if there is the possibility of recovering joy and purpose. If you have health, I think that is always possible. Another book that impressed me was Victor Frankel's "Man's Search for Meaning." He discussed the bits of joy that he and his fellow prisoners found even in a concentration camp.

Please tell me more about your pain. I want to say that there is always hope. Maybe there isn't ALWAYS hope, but maybe you can still find some.

With love, Jinx
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You do not say why you are in so much pain. Do you have a terminal illness?
Hospice can be very helpful with their social worker and spiritual adviser. They are also very experienced with pain management and liberal with their supplies.
Suicide is a very personal decision and only you can decide if it is the right one.
There are many people here praying and caring for you in a non judgmental way. Keep in touch or send us a final note
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Ain't that just the question? Personally, I think ending our own lives should be a personal choice, and assistance to do so, available. And, I know that's a slippery slope NO one wants to start down in our society. I even get the whys. I'm still an advocate.

My dog got hit by a car, and had so many injuries that is was the merciful thing to do. I held her as she went quietly to sleep. Sobbing, of course, but it was still the right thing to do. And this was only 3 months after my mother, dying from bone cancer and living ONLY on drip morphine, didn't have the legal right to do. So, I left the vet's office crying for my losses and furious that my mother didn't and couldn't have the same quiet, painfree exit. I honestly don't think wanting to end all the pain and suffering is a sign of mental instability. I also think it's the hardest decision any of us can make.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

May God bless you with His perspective, hope, and love... and a release from your physical pain...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Are you talking about now or in the future? Have you talked to a hospice nurse or counselor? Those folks often have an amazing way of looking at life and death and the space in between. A counselor is highly recommended with feelings like this since they can be objective. Have you got a second opinion regarding pain management? Also, what about your bucket list, Is there anything on it that you can still try to do? Lastly, is there anything you can do to help others. Anything at all that helps others can make life worth living. Sending love.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I'm not sure for myself any more. Wasn't so much for others, but for myself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Logic doesn't enter into the question. Personal values and beliefs, fear of the unknown, many things prevent a person from taking that final step. We who are the caregivers can look from the outside, but never really know.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.