Monday, December 10, 2012

A Horrible Accident

The man was drunk, no doubt.  He had lost his job; then his wife left him and took away his beloved children, and so alone, he drank ---- lots.  And driving home that night he went through a red light, and smashed into our car and seriously injured myself and my spouse, that horrible night.
There are some in society who would offer excuses for that man and be understanding of the situations in life which drove him to drink that night, but I couldn’t.  His actions changed my life --- forever.  Nothing would ever be the same.  Oh, it might take a while, but I will eventually heal from my physical injuries, but never from the horrors of that night:  the accident, the police, the ambulance --- and what happened to my husband.
I did recover physically, but my life had changed.  Before the accident, I had family and friends and a spouse I thought I’d never stop loving, and who would never stop loving me.  But now my spouse loves no one; he is someone I don’t recognize, as I look at his misshapen body on the hospital bed.  He was someone I thought I’d always want near me; now he doesn’t know me, and is a constant reminder of that awful accident.
I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.
They say he eventually may recover, maybe, but if so he will not be the person I remember.  He’ll be a stranger --- but miracles happen, they say.  They say he’s still my husband, and I may grow to love the “new” him, this stranger.  I always thought of marriage as two people committing their lives to each other, but still independent people, each responsible for their happiness.  Now, I’m told, I am totally responsible for his life, and his happiness --- that is, if he ever feels happiness again.
Now, remembering the accident, I am having to deal with the prosecution of the drunk driver --- who I’ll always both hate and fear --- and with the stranger in the hospital bed who I am responsible for.  The doctors and nurses are very kind to me, but they are quiet when discussing my husband’s condition.  It’s like he doesn’t exist, but there he is, still living --- kind of.  Eventually, some doctors came around and asked to talk to me, privately.  “You have a decision to make,” they said.
Considering your husband’s condition, he is unlikely to ever be the person you remember; you need to understand that the relationship you once had is gone.  You need to accept that.  You can wait for him to heal (but it will take many months), and then you can see how (or if) you can live with this stranger; perhaps you might grow to love whoever he becomes.  But he won’t be as you remember him.  Perhaps you might forget the accident, eventually, and just get on with your changed life, and changed spouse.  Perhaps, …
Or … you can make plans to transfer him, when he’s healed enough, to a facility which will care for him.  He likely won’t remember you, or miss you, and there he may make a new life.  Certainly there will be people there, caring people, who will make his life as happy as possible.  But it will be a long wait until that day, and you will be responsible for him until then.
And then there is a third option.  You can divorce him now and walk away.  This is not the person you married, not someone --- as he is now --- that you loved and married.  You can divorce and forget the accident; you can forget your dreams of a life with him, as hard as that might be, and just move on.
Or … there is, we have all agreed, a final option.  We are willing to stop the machines and support that are keeping him alive, today.  He is unfeeling now, and releasing him to death would be a compassionate thing.  And then he might never feel the sorrow you feel; that would be merciful.  And, perhaps, then you might heal that much faster, without his being a reminder of the horrors of that day.
What?  “What did you just say?” I ask, coming out of my daze.  “Kill him?  Is that what you’re saying I should do?  Get out of here right now!  Get out!! I can’t kill the man of my dreams,” I said.  “I don’t like any of the options you’ve given me.  They are all horrible.  And don’t talk to me about moving on with my life.  I’ll never forget that accident or the drunk who ended my dreams, or what I’m left with now.  Ever!”
I sat there stunned.  Killing my spouse now? --- but, it WOULD lift the heavy weight I feel today, wouldn’t it?  But no, it would NOT make things better.  And even if I DID move on with my life, and the accident and the drunk driver faded in my memory, how would I ever forget that I had killed him?  No!  I don’t like the other options, but I will deal with my sorrows as best I can; killing him is NOT an option!
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Yes, the above woman is in a sad, painful situation.  She has options which might alleviate her sadness, but none of them will make it go away.  The horrible accident happened; it cannot be wished away from her memory.  And of all her options, there is only one is she sure of:  she cannot murder her spouse. 
So, in summary, we can understand that the drunk driver, despite his sadness, had no right to take to the highway and perhaps kill an innocent person.  And we can understand that the woman, despite HER sadness, may not kill either the drunk driver or her innocent husband.  We understand these things because in our heart we truly understand God’s Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill,” as being one without any exception for “in case of sadness”.
Therefore, if we can understand how someone’s sadness does not justify their committing murder of an innocent person in these examples, then how can we justify a woman who, in her sadness, kills the innocent child born of rape?  Why, in this one instance, does someone’s sadness justify the killing of an innocent person?
I don’t understand.  I never will.

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