Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Christopher Reeve's death

I spent a good chunk of yesterday on the phone trying to arrange sparring partners for two television stations, both producing segments on embryonic stem cell research. CN8 said that Christopher Reeve's death makes this a hot topic of the moment. In the course of the day I finally got to talk in person to Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, who will be taking the "no destructive embryonic stem cell research" side in the debate Catholic Scholars at UD is sponsoring on Oct. 23. He told me something poignant (and important) about Christopher Reeve, gleaned from a Washington Post article. Early on after the accident which left him paralyzed, Reeve apparently revealed a wish to be a candidate for assisted suicide. Somehow due to his wife's unswerving support, his own internal transformation, and almost certainly the prayers of so many friends and fans, this desire to die turned into a desire to live life to the fullest capability, even though severely disabled. A candidate for Dr. Kevorkian became a poster guy for making the most of the life one has. So although Reeve got it wrong about embryonic stem cell research, he provides an instructive and inspiring example of a life lived fully, with meaning to self and great encouragement to others, despite being the "perfect candidate" for the assisted suicide folks and the philosophy they try to pawn off on the rest of us.

Of course, it could be argued that he had resources that were not available to others, due to his wealth and fame. But contrary-wise, you could argue that he lost more than others and perhaps had more "reason" to die, given that his health, wealth, fame and potential for continued living of the "good life" surpassed those of most people in his situation.

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