Thursday, August 03, 2017

Me Before You

I finished this book during my 'sabbatical after surgery' in Perth.  With euthanasia still a much-debated subject, this book is very relevant.  I'd also heard a review of it and thought it sounded very interesting.

The plot centres around Will, who is 35 and has been a quadriplegic for two years after being hit by a motorbike.  Feeling very depressed about all he has lost, he tries to take his own life before asking his parents to take him to a clinic in Switzerland where he can end it.  Devastated, his parents hire Lou, a 26-year-old woman, to be his personal carer and companion, with the hope she can cheer him up and show him life is still worth living (I will not reveal the ending).

While I am a Christian and strongly against euthanasia, this book helped me see just how difficult life is for people like Will, or those who are in chronic pain and terminally ill.  The last few years have been so dreadfully difficult with my mental health that I have longed to end it all on numerous occasions.  On of the upsides of my suffering is that I have become more compassionate and able to see other's viewpoints in these matters.  I agree that the argument to let someone 'die with dignity' makes sense in a worldly point of view.  To be honest, if I was in Will's situation, I would struggle to want to live, too, and I'm a Christian with the tremendous hope that Jesus brings.  Will doesn't have that hope, so I can see that his life looks bleak to him.

This book led to some...ummm....'interesting' discussions with my mum after I told her what the book was about (she is reading it now).  She is not Christian and said that if she was dying and in pain, she would ask me to take her to an overseas clinic, too.  I told her that although it would devastate me to see her suffering, her life is not mine to take, or to assist in taking.  She said, "Fine, I'll ask Tim, then."

I'm hoping to read Joni Eareckson Tada's biography to hear about how a Christian person has dealt with becoming a quadriplegic and how the hope they have in Christ has made a difference.

Ultimately I'm still very opposed to euthanasia...but I think Christians can be so and still understand why people like Will would consider it.

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