|I am ready to die?
Mar 17, 1999
I am a 29yo woman. I hold a MA in catholic theology and know deeply that God loves me. I was diagnosed one year ago and although my story is very complicated I always come back to the fact that I need to deal with my dying. I would not mind if the progression were faster only because I do not fear suffering as much as I fear the reprocussions of committing suicide. I am not depressed nor hopeless. I have people that love me and people I deeply love.
Some say it is a terminal illness and therefore gives allowance to suicide as an option. I cannot wrestle with the fact that it is still taking my own life, yet was that not what I did when I contracted HIV? Please help me to be okay with this. I am not sure I am asking whether to be okay with death or suicide? Is there any allowance for suicide?
Response from Father DeMartini
Thank you for your very honest and heartfelt message. While I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be young, living with HIV and feeling surrounded by fear and uncertainty. AT the same time I hope and pray that you can find reason for and support for living despite the future unknowns. I hear you blaming yourself and suggesting that you chose suffering and death. Instead I invite you to consider those who know, love and support you, despite the virus, and consider choosing life and future with them. You say that "some say AIDS is a terminal illness"--I would invite you to not let the words terminal or life-threatening rob you or your right to live out all your days with courage, optimism and faith. Ask God to help you understand the Scriptural invitation to choose life. I will keep you in prayer and would be happy to even speak with you personally on e-mail or phone. I would like to send you a copy of a wonderful talk given by the late theologian Henri Nouwen called "Befriending Death" which was delivered to people living with HIV/AIDS and their careproviders at the National Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry Conference in 1995. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 707-874-3031. May God's peace embrace you. Fr. Rod
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