Thinking about Euthanasia

Why is Euthanasia not the best way?

I have had to put down two beloved dogs in the last six years. Hank and Marley.

I have seen many patients die in my over twenty years of nursing/caring.

You never get used to this. It’s very sobering.

I am not very good at ethics.  I only got 40% for my TCD essay in 2012 on why withdrawing fluids at the end of life can be actually ok. I needed 50% to pass!

My own mother has steadily progressing dementia and I know only too well how that can end up.  I watched Liz lying for ten years like a vegetable in bed but she was not a vegetable to Sue who visited her beloved mother devotedly every evening. This is love. This is humanity. How moving.

So what am I saying? I am just saying that I am not an expert.

I can’t argue philosophy like David Quinn so ably can, God bless his courage.

But I don’t think ‘mercy’ killing is a good idea. Or assisted suicide, either.

I think good palliative care is needed. And I know it’s not easy.

I know prayer is needed a lot at the end of life. I believe in heaven and hell.

I believe some souls need Jesus’ mercy when they are dying.

I suppose we all do, really.  How vulnerable we all are and all will be………

I can understand Robin Williams killing himself when he was diagnosed with Lewy-Body dementia. I would not blame him.

I know people get very worked up about euthanasia as they do about abortion.

I know there are horror stories. I know that dying people can suffer.

But I still don’t think euthanasia is a good idea.

Don’t ask me to explain this in theological terms. Or in legalities.

It’s more of a gut instinct with me.

Just as I know that full term abortion is very wrong. We all do, really.

Humanity is a funny and mysterious thing.

We have great dignity and deep soul and yet we are all very weak.

At least I know I am. We are easily bewildered. Easily bamboozled.

Though I do hope to die myself with real dignity, please God.

I lost two good friends in the recent 2018 abortion debate

(though we are back being kind of friends again now, thank God)

I may lose friends in this current euthanasia debate too.

But you have to try to be honest. Even if you are a bit simple like me.

Although few people seem to be bothered enough even to discuss it.

The ‘needle’ will probably come in soon to Ireland due to apathy.

And maybe due to lack of understanding? To emotional confusion.

People think there is no point arguing with the all powerful secular atheistic media. They who try to control our lives. To buy our souls.

But there is. Naming your own truth is important. For our own conscience.

“To thine own self be true” as Shakespeare put it.

That is what I have tried to do in this short piece.

I don’t like controversy. I don’t like getting worked up like Joe Duffy does.

Life is sacred. Life is holy. It’s a gift of God. Love is eternal……

As Richard Rohr puts it so well: “We are not human beings having a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

Fr Seraphim Mikalenko appreciated

Fr Seraphim appreciated (RIP 11-2-2021)

Father Seraphim would point to a passage in Luke’s Gospel: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36).

“So if you want to be holy as God is holy and perfect as God is perfect, we have to be merciful as God is merciful,” he would explain. “And how is that? That great convert and writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton defined mercy as ‘loving the unlovable and pardoning the unpardonable,'” something that is possible for us only by the grace of God.

Father Seraphim held that the revelations of Divine Mercy are particularly tailored to our times.

“The Lord makes clear in Scripture that when He returns, He’s not going to deal with sin, because He’s done that once and for all,” Fr. Seraphim said. “When He comes again, it’s ‘to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him’ (Heb 9:28). So when people ask me why is the message of Divine Mercy important for the world today, the answer is simple: Through the message of Divine Mercy, our Lord is preparing us for His final coming.

“He told the great prophet of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina, in one of a series of revelations in the 1930s: ‘Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My Mercy’” (Diary, 300).

HOPE – a poem by alexis valdes (cuba)

                                                 HOPE by alexis valdes (cuba)

When the storm has passed…and the crowds are tamed
And we are survivors…of a collective shipwreck
With tearful heart…our destiny blessed
We will feel joy…simply for being alive

And we’ll give a hug…to the first stranger
And praise our good luck…that we kept a friend.
And then we’ll remember all that we lost
And finally learn…everything we never learned.

And we’ll envy no one…for all of us have suffered
And we’ll not be idle…but more compassionate .
We’ll value more what belongs to all…than what was earned
We’ll be more generous…and much more committed

We’ll understand how fragile …it is to be alive
We’ll sweat with empathy…for those still with us and those who are gone.
We’ll miss the old man…who asked for a buck in the market
Whose name we never knew…who was always at your side.

And maybe the poor old man…was your God in disguise
But you never asked his name…because you never had the time
And we’ll all become a miracle…and all will become a legacy
And we’ll respect the life…the life we have gained.

When the storm passes…I ask the Lord, in shame
That you return us better…as you once dreamed us.

What does it feel like to have dementia?

What does it feel like to have dementia?

  1. I feel confused
  2. I feel lonely and isolated
  3. I feel afraid
  4. I feel very frustrated and angry
  5. I feel very tired
  6. It’s a very hard struggle
  7. I need kindness and humanity
  8. I need acceptance
  9. I need understanding not judgement
  10.  I can’t remember things and this is very humiliating
  11.  I can’t express  myself well
  12.  I can’t think straight
  13.  I need you to go slowly and gently with me
  14.  I need prayer support
  15.  I need to try and keep my sense of humour
  16.  I am more than my illness
  17.   I am a human being and the same person I always was
  18.   A child of God
  19.   I am a ‘human being’ not a ‘human doing’

Remembering Ita

Ita Geraghty was one of Dublin’s great characters. She hailed from the Inner City, I think. At least, she lived there when I knew Ita.

She had two fine grown up lads with whom I have lost touch. Her pride and joys.

She was a great woman to pray and help poor people. She had a really fierce sense of justice and gut level genuineness and was not afraid to speak her mind vigorously. We all got a bit of the lash of Ita’s tongue sometime or other.

Her own health was not great, I think she suffered a lot, which might help explain her frankness at times. Even saints run out of patience.

She was one of the great heart and soul people of the early Divine Mercy Conferences in the RDS which is how we became such great friends.

She had a great sense of humour and mischief and was no lover of pomp.

Her belly laugh still echoes in my mind. And the flash of her smiling eyes.

For some reason, her passing went by without much fanfare so now, a few years later, I am putting pen to paper to remember her on January 15th, feast of St Ita.

Another of Ireland’s strong and vocal women.

buddy and the christmas chicken

Buddy, our dog, and the special Christmas Chicken

I had a brain wave to roast a big chicken for my mother, Mary, for Christmas day. Designed to impress the female side.  I did not know that my wise sister, Nora, was bringing turkey to Mam and that Nuala, my sister in law, would also give us a load to take home Christmas night after having dinner with her. It was my first time roasting a chicken, a big thrill for me and I even enthusiastically stuffed it with lemons as Maura, my wife advised. 20 minutes a pound then let it stand.

I rushed out to Mam on Christmas eve but left my all-important cooked half chicken behind in a container on the counter. A big mistake.

When I got to Mam in Howth, I realized I must have left my prized chicken behind. I looked in the boot of the car but to no avail.

I got home to Maura about 6pm on Christmas eve. Expecting to find my Christmas chicken where I left it. But Buddy, our opportunist dog, had got it, on the sly.

The whole half a big chicken had totally disappeared. Vanished like a ship in the Bermuda Triangle. Maura had kindly and indulgently halved it for me and for Mam. She had also stripped the other half for sandwiches.

Then, three days after Christmas, there was still some of Nuala’s turkey left over so I decided to use up my special chicken.

Again, I left it momentarily out on the counter. I went out to the shed to put my white nurse’s uniform in the wash. To get ready for work tomorrow.

When I came back into the kitchen, Buddy, quick as a flash, had gobbled the second part of my special festive roast chicken meant by Maura for sandwiches.

It would have been a nice change at lunch from all the turkey. With a bit of salt. And a cool glass of Heineken delicious non alcoholic beer.

“The sound of bitter mourning is heard in Ramah”

Buddy, the chancer, looked very guilty and cowered and I felt like giving him a toe in the behind but then it dawned on me. It’s Christmas for dogs too.

Healing for Dementia

Healing for dementia

    (15/12/2020)

Love can help heal dementia

and it’s often painful side effects.

it is primarily a spiritual battle,

it seems to me.

prayer can greatly help heal dementia

with kindness and care,

good humour and common sense. 

dementia prevention

the good news is that some dementia can be prevented

The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASI) have a lot of free useful information

and they have a very helpful free helpline 1800341341

http://www.alzheimer.ie

If you want to talk to me, my first consultation is free too (about half an hour)

Phone or text 0872999241 to make an appointment, e mail paultwickham@gmail.com

or Whats App 0852548244, you will be welcome

Remembering Diarmuid

Remembering Diarmuid O Casaide, Howth (from Louth)

                                                       (RIP 14/11/2020)

Diarmuid was a noble gentleman.

A duine uasal

Good at the Irish and the singing.

Full of wisdom about our ancient culture

and full of stories and sayings.

full of soul and prayer

and with a kind heart and a cheerful manner.

A great family man.

I enjoyed playing music with him for Charlie Mc Dermott  

He blew a mean harmonica.

Ceart go leor