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Eugenics and Nancy Cruzan

January 07, 1991

Who does Cal Thomas think he is to suggest ("It's a Short Step to the Next Horror of Eugenics," Commentary, Dec. 30) that those of us who must make the heart-rending decision about whether or not to let a loved one die, as I have, and as Nancy Cruzan's family did, did so because the suffering human being is a "burden" to us? That is a damnable lie. That is an outrageous, self-serving obscenity.

My beloved wife, Barbara, died four years ago when the machine that was pumping air into her fragmented and diseased lungs was turned off--at my request. That request came as a result of a note she wrote me one morning when I was visiting her in an intensive care unit where she had been for four weeks.

She wrote: "This is no way to live. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Please let me go peacefully."

Does Thomas and his like-thinkers believe that my life--or the lives of the Cruzan family--has become easier? My wife and I were married for more than three decades. I adored, loved, admired and respected her to the ultimate of my being. After four years, the loneliness and sorrow still fill my soul. I would happily exchange places with her, if that was an answer to her well-being; but if called upon again, I would do exactly what I did. My life is not easier. Half of me left with her. Are these self-appointed messengers from God suggesting that I should have let my wife continue the horror of her life?

MAC ST. JOHNS, Thousand Oaks

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