Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Montreal Women Gets Probation for Euthanizing Son

From LifeSite

A Montreal woman, Marielle Houle, who pleaded guilty to killing her some Charles Fariala using sleeping pills and a plastic bag, has been sentenced to three years probation. Houle had pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting the suicide of her son, a playwright and student suffering from multiple sclerosis and apparent depression. The maximum penalty for assisted suicide is 14 years.

Houle’s lawyer, Salvatore Mascia, described her crime as an act of “unconditional love.” The Crown, however, said that while Houle’s intentions may have been “compassionate,” Canada is not a society that tolerates euthanasia. The court’s leniency was likely due to Houle’s “fragile” mental and physical health.

Disability Rights Advocate Cheryl Eckstein had some comments:

I can't think of anything more hopeless than to have a mother help their son or daughter believe there is no hope and that it is better for them to be dead. I can not conceive in my mind how a mother - any mother could agree to such a crime. Just what could be worse?

Many question why the mother helped her son kill himself ... why she supported her son's decision to take his life and why neither seemed to have sought help. She worked in healthcare and must have known about the various groups who could help. How does a nurse's aide obtain enough drugs to kill? Such an act is not impulsive, it takes time to plan. I believe both bought into the lie, that all was hopeless.

I am a chronic pain patient. I am well acquainted with pain - suffering and disappointments. Many of my symptoms mimic MS - (spastic muscles, hearing and visual problems - at times I have difficulty walking without the aid of a cane). Over the years the symptoms have increased - I have experienced a lot of pain, cognitive problems - often called a "fog", (I sometimes wonder if maybe I am also in the first stages of Alzheimer's) and serious disabling fatigue. (Thankfully, with medication my pain is manageable) Every single night for over 3 years, my fever mysteriously rises to over 100 degrees. Every single morning I wake up in a drenched bed- including my pj's. One symptom that is very hard to bear is when I am in the sun I break out in hives all over my body ... the hives feel like they are burning into my skin and the itch is unbearable. This happens within a minute of exposure and no matter how well I am covered, it doesn't matter. Thus, my daytime outings have seriously diminished. One of my absolute favorite hobbies is gardening. I find it hard not to grieve the loss of being able to go out whenever I want. Also, physically I am no longer able to tend a garden.

The combination of symptoms led to depression. I kept hoping the diagnosis was wrong and that it was just a flu - I was in deep denial. I was certain that I would wake up the next day and have my old life back. It took some time for me to finally accept that I was very ill. I also knew that without help, depression will keep me in an utter state of hopelessness.

I have had to learn how to let go of many of the things I was able to do in the past. One major loss is my ability to practice my favorite pieces on my grand piano. Before I founded The Compassionate Healthcare Network, I was a classical concert pianist and teacher. Now when and if I am able to sit and play, it is only for a short time, and I must choose more simple compositions. Yes, I've done my fair share of grieving. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have help from compassionate and positive people. Compassion literally means "to suffer with." I am blessed to be loved and cared for by a most compassionate husband.

According to Cheryl the support from loved ones is critical and she seems to think this was the missing factor that could have averted this tragedy:

When one is struck with illness it is also critical to have positive family and friends supporting you. I have learned from those who love me, that it is okay that I am a burden at times to them. When we open our hearts to others and express our need, we will find burden-bearers who are willing to help. No one is assured of living in great health ... none of us know when illness or accident could come upon us and alter our lives forever. MS is not a death sentence! It is not fatal disease.

Cheryl has made the case to the Canadian Senate that euthanasia and assisted suicide puts the depressed and unwanted at risk. Let's hope the political shift in Canada will take her warning to heart.
papijoe 9:23 AM