If I euthanise my mother, will I be forgiven?

I often cry like a three-year-old, when memories of my mother flash back into my mind. I remember her love and care.

Umair Imran October 29, 2012
She can't speak, she has no concept of reality and she is not living anymore.

This woman who just exists now is my mother.

Nine years ago, after a terrible car accident, my mother went into a coma, leaving three children at the mercy of a heartless world. I was only 15-years-old when this happened and my younger sister, Aiza, was just five.

Aiza couldn’t even comprehend where her mother had gone.

It was earth-shattering to see a once vibrant and lucid mother’s sad transformation. My father devoted all his time and efforts to fill the gap my mother's sudden loss had left us with. Simultaneously, he tried desperately to bring his wife back. We, on the other hand, kept praying to be taken to school by our mother the next day, just like our class mates were taken by theirs.

However, God had willed it to be different.

We now spend our Eids, birthdays and almost all our vacations in the room of a private hospital where my mother is kept. We love her and her pain and misery is unbearable. Shrinking everyday into a vegetative state, it is heart wrenching to see her.

My father has hired top-notch doctors, but they are not very hopeful about her recovery and have asked my father on several occasions to remove her from the life support machine. He is a religious man and believes pain and agony is a test of God. He usually quotes some verses from the Holy Quran that say that those who patiently wait and persevere will receive rewards without measure.

My grades at school dropped drastically after my mother's accident. My siblings lost their appeal towards their studies as well and together we became the object of sympathy from our extended family.

Aiza is struggling even to pass her eighth grade exams at the moment. My father can’t concentrate on his business and now we are just consuming the mark ups of some savings. Our mother was not the only one who went into a coma that day; all four of us went along with her. Our lives seem to have become stagnant and we seem to living a wretched nightmarish existence everyday.

I want my mother’s agony to end;I can’t endure her condition anymore.

She just exists, but she doesn’t live.

Is this life worth living?

We spent nine long years waiting to see a happy family again. We are still waiting to see a time when all of us will sit together and laugh. Sadly, it seems as though we are living in a fool's paradise and that these thoughts are just for dreamers.

If I talk of euthanasia, I am considered an evil son, but I want to ask of you a simple question:
Is living in such a condition any better than death?

Is dying so miserable and painful that you would prefer to be living in such a state?

I often cry like a three-year-old, when memories of my mother flash back into my mind. I remember her love and care. How she used to teach me and cook for me. And now, here I am, her son, talking about ending her life.

Euthanasia is legal in many countries including some states in the US. No one can better comment than me about the shock of seeing a loved one’s body and mind deteriorate. But to choose euthanasia as a respite for suffering is an even harder call to make.

Our society has specified rules of behaviour for every individual. A son must treat his parents in a particular manner and crossing the line means becoming a victim of ridicule for everyone. People around us cannot see the pain in our eyes but what they are steadfast at is commenting on our lives, and these comments are what my father fears the most.

I cannot talk of euthanasia; it’s a taboo in our society. I fear people will say that I killed my mother and what a ruthless son I am!

But is delaying the inevitable rational? Can hastening the death of patient be considered an act of mercy?

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answers to any of the questions above. I believe that in reality we are tired of this unfortunate circumstance. No matter how noble our acts are on the exterior, deep inside us, we just want to end this trauma.

Am I being selfish? Can this be the right call to make?

Can anyone put me out of this misery?

I really don’t know.

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Umair Imran A graduate of Bahria University in management sciences. He is an employee of the Federal Government (Ministry of Defence) and is helping various NGOs in Pakistan to support people in war-torn areas.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Ahsen Tanoli | 11 years ago | Reply I can't comment anything but your questions jolted my conscience.
Dr. Khan | 11 years ago | Reply Dear brother, Really sorry to read about the tragedy your family is undergoing. I'm a practicing muslim and a doctor who works in the ICU. From what I can understand she is on life support aka at least a ventilator if not more. All these are artificial ways of keeping someone alive. Back in the days of the Prophet there was no such technology and when people got sick like this they were allowed to pass away naturally. Withdrawing life support is not any different from withholding it. Every day lots of patients die in Pakistan as they cannot afford to go on a ventilator and many of them have reversible causes. That's not euthanasia so this isn't either. If you take your mom off the ventilator you won't be killing your mom. If she lives off the ventilator she lives - if she doesn't then it was her time. At this time you should focus on comfort care while still not actively giving her any medications meant solely to accelerate her passing away. It's a grave and complex situation but remember Allah knows our intentions and we will be judges according to that. May Allah help you make the right decision.
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