it’s a wonderful life …

December 20, 2013

in Art & Literature,Bioethics,Hospice & Palliative Medicine

… and suicide. On watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night, I was struck by many things. But maybe most of all by the accuracy of its portrayal of the suicide. As Paul McHugh says in The Mind Has Mountains … “Most suicidally depressed patients are not rational individuals who have weighed the balance sheet of their lives and discovered more red than black ink. They are victims of altered attitudes about themselves and their situation, which cause powerful feelings of hopelessness to abound.” (p. 75) The data support the pertinence of this in those nearing end-of-life who request to hasten their death (physician assisted suicide, euthanasia, palliative sedation to unconsciousness) – this is not an “autonomous” choice but a final act of despair by one who sees no other options.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

teresa December 24, 2013 at 11:24 am

I found the movie, It’s a wonderful life disappointing. Firstly, I don’t think angels have wings. Secondly, I find it’s totally lacking in what the season is about, it is not about the money, things, or shopping. It is not necessarly understanding why things happen the way that they do. It is a movie about falling into pride, and that, “I” must do it all. It is this thinking, that leads one to despair, because one fails to be sufficient and has lost hope, not in God necessarily, but in themselves. I also believe, some forms of suicide are in anger, anger at the world, anger at someone, or angry with themselves. Some forms of anger can only be alleviated with prayer and hard work. (I think every backyard should have wood pile for chopping wood, as a way of alleviating some of that anger.) I feel the movie fell short of knowing that the season should be about the quiet anticipation of God lowering himself into our humanity in order to save man from himself and for man to develop a closer relationship with him. This closer relationship, will lead man not to despair, when things don’t go our way, but to trust that all will be ok, even during times of great trial.

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