“It won’t be the government…”

ruthielemingFrom Rod Dreher’s The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: (italics in the original)

Never would I have imagined that I would spend the morning of my little sister’s forty-third birthday in the graveyard, watching workmen heave her tombstone into place. But nobody ever thinks about these things when they’re young. Nobody thinks about limits, and how much we need each other. But if you live long enough, you see suffering. It comes close to you. It shatters the illusion, so dear to us, of self-sufficiency, of autonomy, of control. Look, a wife and mother, a good woman in the prime of her life, dying from cancer. It doesn’t just happen to other people. It happens to your family. What do you do then?

The insurance company, if you’re lucky enough to have insurance, pays your doctors and pharmacists, but it will not cook for you when you are too sick to cook for yourself and your kids. Nor will it clean your house, pick your kids up from school, or take them shopping when you are too weak to get out of bed. A bureaucrat from the state or the insurance company won’t come sit with you, and pray with you, and tell you she loves you. It won’t be the government or your insurer who allows you to die in peace, if it comes to that, because it can assure you that your spouse and children will not be left behind to face the world alone.

Only your family and community can do that.


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