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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

The art of dying

Elizabeth Bishop might have been right when she wrote in her poem “One Art” that “the art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

But in light of the recent events concerning the assisted suicide dispute between two cancer patients, Brittany Maynard and Kara Tippetts, one must wonder whether there is also an art to dying as well.

The debate boils down to this: Maynard is choosing to end her own life through assisted suicide while Tippetts is choosing to let the natural process overtake her.

Although there are bigger political implications to the question, namely the ones regarding policies on assisted suicide, I’d like to point out that perhaps this debate about these two specific people is unnecessary.

No matter how we might want to judge others for their actions and arrive at conclusions about whether they are contemptible or praiseworthy, the thought of this happening to someone close to the brink of death is disheartening.

One might be inclined to argue that we are all on our way to dying and that dying shouldn’t change our judgments on acceptable behaviors for society. Though this is true, an alternative perspective on the prospect of dying makes the argument a bit too harsh.

Since dying is a part of life and since each individual has different ways of how they want to pursue life, there should not be an ultimate verdict that decides how one should die — just like there should not be one for how a person should live.

Death is something inconceivable to the living. We can never know how it feels to die or what the conditions of our own deaths might be. This is what makes it something immensely difficult to cope with.

When faced with those who have to come to terms with the horrible yet helpless nature of their own deaths, we should provide them sympathy and respect for whatever reasonable way they choose to deal with death.

We should offer these people the freedom of choice, even if that’s the last freedom they endorse.

‘Cause, you know, even if you’re awful at it, the art of dying requires no debate.

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