Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Elysian Fields, Embalming, Euthanasia

My theme for this year's A- Z Blogfest is DEATH (who I hope is like DEATH in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series): "...tall, thin (skeletal, as a matter of fact), and ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Generally shows up when you're dead, or just when he thinks you ought to be." Today we have E for Elysian Fields, Embalming, Euthanasia.

In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields are the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.

Embalming is the process used to forestall decomposition and preserve the body for viewing. Bodily fluids are removed and replaced with formaldehyde-based chemical solutions. I won't go into the details of the process but if you want to know more you can google it and probably even watch it. Hopefully, since I'm being cremated, I won't need to be embalmed.

Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. I worked in an animal hospital and I can tell you both the good and bad of euthanasia. A dog being euthanized over a broken leg, a cat because it had a urinary infection and "it would be too traumatic" to treat the cat for 14 days. Not to say there aren't times when it's the right thing to do. The problem is that the pain and suffering is in the eye of the beholder, not the sufferer. I'm all for it in people as long as it's their own choice.

Do you think euthanasia for people should be legal? Remember that scene in Gladiator? God, that was sad, but a bit happy, too.

Excerpt from Mort, by Terry Pratchett, in which DEATH takes on an apprentice...

"It is a fact that although the Death of Discworld is, in fact, in his own words, an ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION, he long ago gave up using traditional skeletal horses, because of the bother of having to stop all the time to wire bits back on. Now his horses were always flesh-and-blood beasts, from the finest stock."


  1. I am definitely in favour of euthanasia. And if it isn't the person's own choice then I would label it murder.
    As it was for the animal cases you mentioned. The suffering that the action relieved wasn't that of the four legged animal.

  2. Euthanasia is a grey area. I'm not God, so I don't know what's the correct answer.

  3. I definitely am in favor of euthanasia and it should be a personal choice of the individual going through the pain and suffering of a long-term, debilitating disease to choose when to go.

  4. I love the idea of those fields. Same idea as the Hall of the Slain in Norse mythology. <3 Euthanasia is a tough one. Who am I to say someone else should suffer? But then again, I'm not God and I feel life and death should be in His hands. So...yeah, it's really tough.

  5. What an interesting theme for the challenge! I'm not a fan of euthanasia. I understand why it could be a mercy, but I'm also a firm believer that those final years of a person's life are the wisest and greatest gift to those who must serve them.

    Crystal Collier

  6. I do remember that scene from Gladiator. I didn't understand what it was the first time I watched it.
    Susan Says

  7. I read a very good pro-euthanasia article a few months ago that really made me think. It didn't quite sway me to their side, but they had an extremely compassionate and compelling argument.

    I came very very close to pursuing a career in the mortuary sciences. I even got accepted into a mortuary school. I just went a different way in the end.

  8. interesting theme and good examples. I personally am for euthanasia. I'd rather go too soon than linger on with no quality of life. I do respect all opinions.

  9. I think euthanasia should be legal for people, so long as it's their choice. Hard to legislate that, though.

  10. Another great quote. Thank you for the chuckle. I believe in euthanasia. When my cat quite eating after months of aggressively treating her breast cancer, we tearfully saw her out of this world. That was August of 2014 and I still miss her every day.
    Awakening Dreams and Conquering Nightmares with a Pen
    I’m still having fun with my little focus on music this month. Be well!

  11. That makes me sad for those animals, BUT an owner that would euthanize a pet over a broken leg or a UTI probably isn't the best caregiver. Ergo, the pet moved on to a much better place. I just hope those folks decide not to be pet owners in the future. It's not their "thing."

    As for people, I'm totally in favor if a person says it's what they want. And someone with a long, painful, TERMINAL illness should have the right to go out with dignity.

  12. That is my favourite scene of the whole Gladiator film. Love it. Thanks for the great post.

  13. Hi, Marcy,

    I definitely believe in euthanasia for terminal cases in both pets and people. Why suffer?

  14. Not sure. I never saw that movie.


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