What exactly does it mean to die with dignity? I used to think that dying with dignity was throwing oneself in the path of the bullet to save the women and children, or perhaps staring the executioner in the eye rather than sniveling and begging for mercy. But now this phrase is used in a different way, and I can't get a grasp on what it means.
Somehow if Terri lives on a few more decades, and at some future time begins to age as we all will, and succumbs to one of those ailments that age brings, she will die without dignity. Or is it she will live all those years without dignity? Or is she already living without dignity and somehow in dehydrating she will regain it in death? And once she is dead, of what use will this dignity be?
And then there is this idea of dying in peace. Dying in peace used to mean that one left this world at peace with the Maker he was soon to meet, so that death could come calmly and without fear. Sometimes it meant to leave this world with no regrets, no apologies unsaid, no forgiveness withheld.
Now dying in peace seems to mean something Terri will not be able to do if she lives out her natural life, but will be able to accomplish if she dehydrates now. And for the life of me, I can't figure out what that would be.
The other thing that puzzles me is that those who insist that Terri needs to die with dignity and die in peace also assert that Terri is aware of nothing, feels nothing, or sometimes that she does not even have a life. Ignorance, (of one's lack of dignity and peace), it seems to me, would be bliss in such a situation. So then, I am puzzled about what use this dignity and peace will be to such a person, or non-person, as the case may be.