WASHINGTON, D.C. — The voters of Massachusetts
face a particularly critical choice on the November ballot: a measure
to legalize assisted suicide.
startling study cited in the New England Journal
of Medicine revealed
recently that three quarters of those whom Jack Kevorkian (a.k.a. “Dr.
Death”) “helped” to die were not terminally ill.
Only about a third of the 130+ patients who took their lives (many
in Kevorkian’s old decrepit van) were even in pain. Some suffered
only from hypochondria or depression.
is the fundamental question: What happens to a person — their
consciousness or “soul” if you will — after they
take their own life? Where do they go?
For more than
50 years,, doctors have been resuscitating their clinically dead patients
and hearing startlingly similar stories about their journeys in the
afterlife. About 18% of the 13 million Americans who have had a near-death
experience describe their time being dead as hellish, distressing or
frightening. A great many of these are after failed suicides.
George Ritchie, in his book on his near-death experience, Return
from Tomorrow, told of seeing the fate of suicides after he died of an illness
while in an army hospital. During the nine minutes when he was clinically
dead, Ritchie, a private during World War II, saw four “realms” of
souls, the most disturbing being the region of the suicides. He watched
the distress of these souls as they tried to communicate with their
loved ones on earth. Many were endeavoring to correct their terrible
mistake and obtain forgiveness from loved ones. His guide, a luminous
being who radiated light and love, told Ritchie, “They are suicides,
chained to every consequence of their act.” Ritchie also observed
a translucent glow of light surrounding the living which was completely
lacking in those who committed suicide.
Dr. Barbara Rommer, a celebrated researcher on near-death experiences,
claimed that at least half of those dying by their own hand seemed
to fall into “an eternal void” absent of love and permeated
with emptiness and loneliness. Those who were resuscitated from a suicide
said they had been judged severely by a higher power in the spiritual
realm and many described a “hell” experience.
Angie Fenimore’s autobiography Beyond the
Darkness: My Journey to the Edge of Hell and Back, recounted that after her suicide, she
entered a realm with “no light, no growth, no happiness” and
no hope. God himself rebuked her severely for taking her own life. “But
my life is so hard,” she replied, recounting that “[m]y
thoughts were communicated so fast that they weren’t even completed
before I absorbed his response: ‘You think that was hard? It
is nothing compared to what awaits you if you take your life.’ ” [p.
During an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, a woman told of her experience
after taking her own life. She saw hellish demons who, she claimed,
had come to take her soul. “I knew they were going to take me,” she
told the startled audience, “and the only thing I knew how to
do was to pray to God and say ‘Help me.’ ”
We need to re-examine the notion that “adequate safeguards” are
all that is necessary to address the issue of assisted suicide. The
real question is the ultimate fate of the dead.
Candid Comments archives
Candid Comments column is copyright © 2012
by Craig Turner and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
To sponsor the FGF E-Package, please send a tax-deductible donation
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
713 Park St., SE
Vienna, VA 22180
or donate online.