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what matters

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I’ve been bored. And in my boredom, I’ve been sifting through blogs, clicking that “Next Blog” link at the top of (nearly) every blogspot member’s page. No, it’s not my favorite thing to do, but it’s keeping me awake.

So there.

In sifting through all this muck, I ran across some right winger’s stuff and, in the dozen or so right-winged blogs I skimmed, I noticed something of a trend. They’re all sitting on pins and needles, waiting for Terri Shiavo’s autopsy results. And on one particularly disturbing site, I found this quote:

“Where there is life, there is hope.”

Can someone please tell me what this means? Is this to imply that, without life, there is no hope—that, in other words, there is no hope for Terri Shiavo or anyone else, for that matter, who has passed away? Or is it meant to imply that as long as some signs of life exist then hope—which is defined as what, exactly?—is there to keep them alive? What is this hope? It’s an illusion, in this case, anyway, a way of contextualizing the situation, a way for the living, breathing, walking and talking to deal with those who are no longer fully alive or wish to no longer be so.

I just watched The Sea Inside the other night. It hit me pretty darned hard. I had to watch in bursts, stopping occasionally to remind myself that, though this is based on a true story, it is not my current life. It’s that powerful. I was sucked into this film more so than I have been to any other film in a long, long time.

All those who think Shiavo’s husband “took her life,” or that she was killed, that she was murdered, need to watch this movie. In fact, it should be required viewing of anyone who’s involved in a euthanasia dispute, regardless of what side they support.

I’m not going to delve into what I believe constitutes life. Nor will I provide a review of Amenabar’s film. And I’m not going to defend Michael Shiavo’s decision. Enough people have done all of these things—and some folks have done this stuff quite effectively.

What I will say, however, is that we all need to be listened to. That’s all this comes down to. Rather than dedicating our conversations, our websites or worse, our lives to posing our views on the death of others, we should be busy listening to one another, taking our loved one’s desires to heart, readying ourselves to fulfill the wishes of those who share them with us. How many people, I wonder, know our partner’s wishes? And I’m not just talking about end-of-life stuff here; this is about all wishes. I would venture to guess that most people know more about how their friends/family members/co-workers (etc.) feel about the Shiavo case or the Jackson case or Enron or Martha Stewart or O.J. than they do about those things that really matter—how their death should be treated, how their life should be treated and where you stand in all this.

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Author: Kim Sharp

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