Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teague Johnson's life was astounding

Tracy Latimer
By Alex Schdenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

My previous blog comment concerning the fact that Robert Latimer, who killed his 12-year-old daugher Tracy, was denied extended day parole by the National Parole Board. 

Some "Human rights" experts argue that Latimer was treated unjustly while disability groups have stated that Latimer should be treated like any other person who was convicted of first degree murder.

I agree with the groups representing people with disabilities.

People often change their mind about euthanasia and the death of Tracy Latimer when they understand life from a disability perspective.

That brings me to Teague Johnson. Teague wrote this profound article that was published in the Vancouver Sun on page A1 on December 9, 1994. 

Teague Johnson's life was astounding.
My Name is Teague

My name is Teague. I am eleven years old, and have really severe cerebral palsy. The Latimer case in Saskatchewan has caused me a great deal of unhappiness and worry over the past few weeks.”

I feel very strong that all children are valuable, and deserve to live full and complete lives. No one should make the decision for another person on whether their life is worth living or not.

I have a friend who had cerebral palsy, and he decided that life was too hard and too painful. So he really let himself die. I knew he was leaving this world and letting himself dwell in the spiritual world. I told him that I understood that the spiritual world was really compelling, but that life was worth fighting for.

I had to fight to live when I was very sick. The doctors said I wouldn’t live long, but I knew I had so much to accomplish still.

I have to fight pain all the time. When I was little, life was pain. I couldn’t remember no pain. My foster mom, Cara, helped me learn to manage and control my pain. Now my life is so full of joy. There isn’t time enough in the day for me to learn and experience all I wish to. I have a family and many friends who love me. I have a world of knowledge to discover. I have so much to give.

I can’t walk or talk or feed myself. But I am not “suffering from cerebral palsy.” I use a wheelchair, but I am not “confined to a wheelchair.” I have pain, but I do not need to be “put out of my misery.”

My body is not my enemy. It is that which allows me to enjoy Mozart, experience Shakespeare, savor a bouillabaisse feast, and cuddle my mom. Life is a precious gift. It belongs to the person to whom it was given. Not to her parents, nor to the state. Tracy’s life was hers “to make of it what she could.” My life is going to be astounding.

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