Right or wrong sign postA few days ago Facebook announced that it was going to give people the option of nominating a legacy contact for your profile who would be able to undertake a few certain tasks such as updating your profile picture, pinning posts etc  after you have died.  The word ‘Remembering’ will also be added above the users name, so that there is identification that the user has died.  What’s been interesting to watch has been people’s response it.

One page that I follow that shared the post had almost 800 comments – and there were comments along the lines of “fantastic idea” all the way through to “WTF.  That’s sick…why would you want to do that?”  And there were a lot that were in line with the latter.  I have no doubt that the page sought people’s judgement on it because it is a hot button issue and one that will polarise people.  It also creates significant page engagement.

There’s a couple of things that I’d like to discuss around this – firstly, I’m curious why there has to be judgement around the concept – why does it have to be either right or wrong?  Why can’t it be a just is?  Why can’t it be just an option that is available?

Secondly, for those who are so vehemently opposed to it, I’m curious as to why?  It’s not something that is compulsory, it is an option; that is all.  You might not want the choice for yourself, but if it has even just the remote possibility of providing healing for some people who are grieving, then why not?  Why must the whole world beat to your drum?

The same discussion for me applies to voluntary euthanasia.  This is not something that would be forced on anyone, it would be an option.  And the model utilised in Oregon, USA, provides for quite a number of safeguards to ensure that it is the wish of the person on their end journey.

So why does it have to be right or wrong in a collective/community context?  Why not just what is right for us as individuals; to choose what is the right path for us?  Would having some form of voluntary euthanasia negatively impact the wider community?  I do not believe so.  In fact, I believe that it would demonstrate that we are a compassionate and caring community who are more concerned with easing suffering and being based in love rather than in fear.

Also, many studies have been done and most cite rates of over 70% of our population are in favour of having the legal right to end our journey when we are facing a terminal and incurable illness/disease.  If so many of us wish to have the option (and that does not mean we have to exercise the option), why do we not have the choice?  We show compassion and mercy for animals that are suffering, yet we deny ourselves the same compassion, mercy and dignity.  

So, I applaud Facebook for providing an option that will bring comfort to many.  I applaud Facebook for taking compassionate action on such a sensitive issue.  And I thank Facebook for offering something that gives us the opportunity to discuss dying and death.  The more that this can happen, the more we will be able to accept that death is just a natural part of the life cycle (as we did in days gone by) and hopefully remove the paralysing fear that impacts so many people.

Peace & blessings, Sharon