Ground Zero radio show host Clyde Lewis is known for his mastery of the macabre and expertise on the paranormal.. Last night he broke down on the air and led a steady stream of emotional callers through the darkest hours of the night.
Lewis hosted a show he called “The Bloody Beach Party on the Shores of the River Styx” .. The topic centered on the assisted suicide of Brittany Maynard’s medically assisted suicide.
Clyde Lewis’ offered a somber and soul-searching radio program last night. He argued neither side–he actually opened the program with an emotional monologue concerning his own life dealing with cancer, and a moment recently when he spoke in depth to someone else facing the end of her life. That woman, he said, died three days after his conversation with her.. Callers who phoned into the program was also emphatic, one woman argued that God would never allow humans to have a moral right to commit suicide.. another called saying his neighbor ‘blew his brains off’ in a pickup truck, alluding to the notion that there may be a better situation if that type of person has a medically safe place to travel for his final endeavor off the planet earth.
One poignant caller spoke in tears at times about her own father and his fight for life–a fight that led him into severe pain until he finally let go. The woman ominously said to look at the eyes of patients in nursing homes. She said, while crying, she cannot look at them because of their loneliness and fear. Clyde Lewis cried with her.
There were few moments of levity on last night’s program. The majority of time was a respectful conversation. Lewis didn’t allow for fighting or even for “it’s in God’s hands” type of arguments, throwing that statement back on callers and demanding their insight into very gray areas.
The right to die is catching on. Recent polling data shows a surge in support for doctor assisted suicide. Even more, other states besides the five already allowing doctor assisted death, are considering expanding the rights that patients have to take matters into their own hands in the cases of painful terminal illnesses.
Clyde Lewis addressed recent polls in his essay on the topic.He titled the program based on Greek Mythology. Lewis wrote,
In Greek mythology, the river Styx is a river that formed the boundary between earth and the underworld or Hades, the abode of the dead. The ferryman of the river Styx was called Charon, a personification of the decision-making process between life and death. According to some versions of the myth, the river Styx had miraculous powers and could make someone immortal.
Achilles was said to have been dipped in it as a child, thereby becoming invulnerable, with the exception of his heel, which was held by his mother to submerge him in the flowing waters of the Styx. His exposed heel gave rise to the expression “Achilles’ heel,” a metaphor for a weak spot in modern meaning, as Achilles was killed in the battle for Troy by an arrow to the heel.
From ancient times of Greece to modern moments of medicine, we seem to be constantly recycling the same issues–new faces and new machinery to keep us alive. There are two points of view that one can take, one hand saying humans should fight to live as long as they can in some form of a transhumanistic future, and the other hand looking at the world as it is and knowing that never-ending life cannot be obtained. And when pain is too much to take and a terminal illness is murdering one from the inside, is it not a time when a fragile human should be able to determine the time and place of their dying?
Last night when Robin Williams killed himself, many across the world, stunned, said he was too young to die.. That may have been. But the answer of his death and the reason for it rests with Robin Williams. Only he knew if the pain of mental anguish and fears over pain may have been too much to take. That same scenario goes for every other human who commits suicide. But the pain being eased by suicide for one creates a world of misery for others. Lewis presented the question: If we make a decision and go to a location where a death is planned, would that make suicide an easier action for family to cope with. Less people would be stunned if the intentions were broadcast prior to the time and moment of a passing..
These are difficult questions.. these are profound questions. We are all on the same path to allowing our souls to leave our bodies, it’s eventual. These decisions are far beyond the pay grade of anyone who listened last night, reading this now, or thinking about this issue.
Some would say we should not play God. But the medical industry has played God very well, propping up lifeless humans with dead eyes on machines until the human body just can’t take anymore.. We play God when we use medicine.. Should we not also be allowed to play God when we find ourselves at the ultimate moment of pain and misfortune?
But.. the darkness often passes. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
Does suicide rob us of seeing the hopeful sunrise that may miraculous greet some velvet morning in the future?
Unless you’re living in one of the five states that already allow it.