You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
I read two books this week by JoJo Moyes. Me Before You was recently made into a movie. I rarely see movies, but enjoy reading the books that inspire movies. After You continues the story of Me Before You. I think that Me Before You will likely be a popular movie considering the climate of our times. It is about assisted suicide. The main character is Will, a young man, once very active, mountain climbing, skiing, and a prominent businessman known for his aggressive takeover of companies. He is injured when hit by a motorcycle accident while walking to work. Will becomes a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Will unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide and promises his parents that he will wait six months and then, they will take him to an assisted suicide facility in Switzerland. The story is told by Louisa, a young woman hired to help him, but unknown to her until later in the story, to also give him reasons to live. Despite Louisa’s best efforts, Will goes through with his suicide plans saying as much as he loves Louisa, she is not enough to make him choose to continue living in such pain, both physically and emotionally. The book ends with everyone agreeing, understanding and supporting Will’s decision. I predict that the story will be used by those who support “Death with Dignity.” Everyone who reads the book, Me Before You, or sees the movie based upon it, needs to read After You. The sequel portrays how everyone’s life is impacted by Will’s choices. Divorce, alcoholism, depression and despair follow their loss. While Will dies, “happily ever after”, the other characters must pick up the pieces of the lives and learn to live without him. While they do eventually start over (with the help of Will’s daughter that no one knew about), the guilt and sorrow that they feel, particularly the knowledge that they were “not enough” should give anyone thinking of suicide second thoughts. The books were an intense contrast to a funeral I attended this morning for a dear woman who suffered with Alzheimer’s before she died. We celebrated her life and the faith, affection and kindness she held onto even when her mind failed her. If anyone might have an excuse for suicide, it might be ones who learn they have this soul sucking disease that causes them to forget all the people and experiences that once made them happy. Yet, Claire continued to live, and beyond mere existence to bless the people around her. Her family witnessed to the many times that Claire failed to recognize them, but still prayed for them with fervor and compassion. What we would have missed had Claire’s life ended before her body naturally faded! I am grateful to have known Claire and her family and hear their inspiring testimonies this morning. Much better than a book or a movie designed to make us think that when life gets hard, we should just give up!