His parents weep and we weep with them. No one can "die with dignity". Death is inherently undignified. It comes at inconvenient times, it reduces grown men to sobbing and tracks tears on those whom we consider to be the strongest among us. Death rips holes in our hearts that can never be filled again. Death stings bitterly. Death takes those whom we love when we'd rather not part with them and, to us, that feels unnatural. To call something dignified means that it is worthy of honor and respect so why would Death ever be such a thing? Death lays claim to all. It is our most mortal enemy.
"Death with dignity" is a philosophy devoid of human comfort in times of suffering. It is an offense to the estate of medicine whose chief goal is to delay death whenever it is humanly possible. Not only that, but a philosophy is “a set of ideas about how to live." Euthanasia is a set of ideas about how to die. It claims that an "easy death" is more valuable than a "frail life," that financial matters take precedence over the desire to save a human being, and it insults the innate will to live that is present in every physically suffering soul. It denies our pro-life philosophy of vocation, or in other words, our calling to suffer with each other even when the world deems it inconvenient.
If everyone decided to die when life turned sour, would we still have Stephen Hawking? His brilliant mind and groundbreaking work in the field of science benefits mankind despite his crippling ALS! Would we have ever heard Beethoven’s musical masterpieces despite his inability to hear? What if Vincent Van Gogh decided to cut off his head and not just his ear when depression assaulted his conscience? These brave souls show us that brilliance and compassion are heightened when life seems to be at its lowest. They teach us that life is just as valuable when it is near death as it is at its peak. After all, a dimly burning wick, although it is no blaze, is still fire. Life fragmented with disease is still life worth fighting for.
"Death with dignity" is a myth, but "life with dignity" is a real and present reality. Every time we remember the soldier who died for his country, the martyr who died for his faith, or the loved one who died from cancer, we celebrate lives teeming with dignity. Even though the European Court of Human Rights thinks it can take away baby Charlie’s life, we know that the battle is already won. Our lives are not in ourselves. They are in the Author of Life.