I remember that when she was in the news, I heard the term “vegetative state” for the first time. It immediately struck me as a completely inappropriate term for any person since it explicitly dehumanizes someone by applying an incorrect analogy. Initially the adjective meant, “endowed with the power of growth” but it has come to denote exactly the opposite in public bioethics – that a person is incapable of any significant growth or development. We do not tolerate those who would dehumanize others by calling them cockroaches, so we ought not tolerate the dehumanizing language that refers to persons as “vegetables.”
In December 2019, I was strolling through the Cemetery at Santa Maria Huatulco.
It struck me how colourful the Mexican cemetery is, and I noticed that the cemeteries are as colourful as the rest of the community. Take a look at these images:
Probably this cemetery in Mexico is the most vibrantly colourful cemetery I have visited to date.
This serves to make the cemetery as attractive and inviting and as other parts of town.
I often reflect on why it is that our hospitals in Canada are so drab. Only the Children’s Hospitals, if any, seem to be bright and colourful. Most of the time, they live up to what you imagine when you hear the word “clinical.”
What does it say about a culture when the hospitals and cemeteries are colourful and when they are not?
Do you think it’s appropriate or worthwhile for such places to be colourful? Why or why not?
One of this blog’s readers, Lisa Wright, reached out to me to share about the organization she co-founded called the Living Wish Foundation.
Lisa, who is an Registered Nurse specializing in palliative care, and her co-founders established the Foundation with the mission “to provide medically supervised and supported end of life wishes to patients in the region who are facing a terminal diagnosis.” They do this by granting wishes that enable patients to reframe hope so to enhance their quality of life until their death.
I was fascinated by this initiative, and delighted to interview Lisa by phone to learn more.
In particular, I wanted to hear from her about how granting wishes serves to “reframe hope.”
In 1993, John Paul II inaugurated the World Day of the Sick to be celebrated each year on February 11th. He wanted the annual day to serve as “a special occasion for growth, with an attitude of listening, reflection, and effective commitment in the face of the great mystery of pain and illness” and he specifically addressed all those who are sick, calling them “the main actors of this World Day.”