Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"You could call him a vegetable. I called him, Oliver, my brother."

Hat tip to The American Scene for linking to a compelling story of apparently "worthless" life that originally ran in the Wall Street Journal.

Here's a bit:

The doctor said that he wanted to make it very clear to both my mother and father that there was absolutely nothing that could be done for Oliver. He didn't want my parents to grasp at false hope. "You could place him in an institution," he said. "But," my parents replied, "he is our son. We will take Oliver home of course." The good doctor answered, "Then take him home and love him."

Oliver grew to the size of a 10-year-old. He had a big chest, a large head. His hands and feet were those of a five-year-old, small and soft. We'd wrap a box of baby cereal for him at Christmas and place it under the tree; pat his head with a damp cloth in the middle of a July heat wave. His baptismal certificate hung on the wall above his head. A bishop came to the house and confirmed him.

Even now, five years after his death from pneumonia on March 12, 1980, Oliver still remains the weakest, most helpless human being I ever met, and yet he was one of the most powerful human beings I ever met. He could do absolutely nothing except breathe, sleep, eat, and yet he was responsible for action, love, courage, insight. When I was small my mother would say, "Isn't it wonderful that you can see?" And once she said, "When you go to heaven, Oliver will run to you, embrace you, and the first thing he will say is 'Thank you."' I remember, too, my mother explaining to me that we were blessed with Oliver in ways that were not clear to her at first.

3 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Thanks, Hunter.

I have been wondering about the assertion that a life has value only to the one who possesses it.

Greg said...

Heard someone complaining today about the Republicans holding a late night session with very few Senators to vote for a bill in Terri's favor. This person then said, "It's just another way the Republicans are trying to control our lives."

(Yes, he really said that.)

Tlaloc said...

"(Yes, he really said that.)"

He'd be right. The idea that you cannot end your own life is based on a simple proposition:

you belong to the state.

Those who do not accept that people are property inevitably have to conclude that if you wish to throw your life away then that's up to you. As long as the decision is made in an informed way it is neither ethical nor practical to interfere.