A Time to Die – The Place of Faith in the Face of Death
When Susan Griffiths of Winnipeg went to Switzerland a year ago to die by doctor-assisted suicide, it was headline news and re-ignited the debate around end-of-life issues. Responses to her death revealed that we are living in a time of shifting public sentiment when it comes to end-of-life issues, especially concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Then last fall, at age 75, Henry Rempel of Kitchener, Ont., chose to end his life. His obituary read: “In the end, his suffering was too great due to the harsh progression of the arthritis and due to many other medical ailments, such as a cancer, and he made the brave decision to complete his life in Switzerland with the help of the kind people of an organization called ‘Dignitas: To live with dignity, to die with dignity.’ ”
“He had given it great thought for years,” said his brother John Rempel, director of the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre. “He was a conflicted person about religion and part of that had to do with his suffering, the worst of which was his rheumatoid arthritis, which in the end crippled him. It was terrible to watch him suffer.”
The April 5 issue of the Winnipeg Free Press states a recent national poll shows a growing number of Canadians—now 68 percent—support the legalization of assisted suicide.