Christina Symanski was 24 years old when she suffered an accident that left her a quadriplegic. She dove into a shallow swimming pool in 2005, and that singular moment in time drastically changed all of the moments that were to follow for this young artist and teacher.
Christina died in early December, at age 31. She did not, however, die from a physical cause directly related to her injuries and paralysis; she committed suicide.
Christina Symanski decided that she had been through enough, and that the likelihood her condition would ever improve was nonexistent. She made the decision to end her own life by starving herself to death, and that is exactly what she did. Her choice has once again raised the subject of just what rights an individual can or should have to end his own life, with many people highly critical of Symanski’s decision, believing, as they apparently do, that she should have continued to “tough it out.”
My own feelings on this subject represent another point at which my more conservative ideals cross swords with my libertarian beliefs, and I am fine letting my libertarian inclinations win out on this one. In short, as a general matter, while I greatly regret the loss of Ms. Symanski and grieve for both her and her loved ones, I cannot find overriding fault with the decision she made, given what I know of her condition and her situation.
I find it odious when happy, healthy, able-bodied people take such strident positions against those like Ms. Symanski who decide to end their suffering by making the conscious decision to terminate their own lives. People do not kill themselves because they are a bit depressed; people kill themselves because their despair and feelings of hopelessness have not become just a part, or even a significant part of their daily lives, but have completely consumed them…a state of being to which, gratefully, few among us will ever be able to intimately relate.
In the weeks and days leading up to the death of my own mother, she was not “merely” in a large measure of discomfort from the illness that was robbing her from this world; she was in agony. Ultimately, the event of my mother’s death was natural, to the extent that there was anything natural about it, but I would have blamed her not one bit had she decided to take her own life, and anyone who finds fault with that sentiment is either completely devoid of compassion, or has never borne witness to the kind of suffering to which my father and I bore witness during the last days of my mother’s life.
There was no healing miracle of science, or even one of God, that was to be bestowed upon my mother, and Ms. Symanski no doubt came to the same conclusion on behalf of herself – that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Christina was facing many more decades of a life that the rest of us would likely find to be unbearable if we had to live it for even just an hour. The substantial limitations, struggles and humiliations that people in Ms. Symanski’s situation face every minute of every day cannot be at all accurately comprehended by the able-bodied, and so there is something rather vile about the healthy sitting in judgment of the decisions the truly desperate are sometimes want to make to free themselves from their earthly misery. May God’s blessings go to each of them, and may they all know peace upon their departures from this world.
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Bob Yetman maintains both The American Patriot (www.theamericanpatriot.info) and The Financial Writer (www.thefinancialwriter.com) blogs. He is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and the unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes - How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press). Additionally, he is a Co-Editor of the monthly Biblical Prophecy & Survival Report newsletter.