Nothing to Live For?
January 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
In the middle of December 2012, 45-year-old twin brothers in new suits and shoes drank cups of coffee together in the hallway of a hospital. They smiled, gave a little wave good-bye to family and were administered lethal injections by a doctor.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem lived in Belgium, a country where euthanasia is legal. According to an article by Simon Tomlinson in the Daily Mail Online on January 15, 2013, the twins were deaf since birth and also had “severe” medical problems. After receiving the crushing diagnosis they would soon be blind from a genetic form of glaucoma, Marc and Eddy told a brother they “had nothing to live for.” Unable to communicate with the outside world,they used their own form of sign language with family. Losing independence was untenable for the twins who worked as cobblers and had always lived together and taken care of themselves. The family tried to persuade them not to kill themselves, but failed.
Perhaps, if Marc and Eddy had met someone like Helen Keller they could have glimpsed hope for their futures.
Helen Keller, born in 1880, was blind and deaf at 19 months after a serious illness—probably scarlet fever or meningitis. Unable to communicate, her dark world exploded into light when Anne Sullivan held Helen’s hand under a water pump and repeatedly spelled out the signs for water. She was seven.
Helen learned to speak and read people’s lips by touching them with her fingertips. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Radcliffe and became a world famous speaker and author. When she was introduced to Christianity, she said, “I always knew He was there but I didn’t know His name.” An author, speaker and political activist, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a few years before she died in 1968.
Three lives facing the same obstacles. Two said they had nothing to live for. One lived out her credo, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
copyright 2013 Inger Logelin