Last week’s news stories regarding Princess Cruises’ passenger Ms. Edelgard Carney ended sadly with a report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that she committed suicide. A Canadian newspaper wrapped up the story with an article entitled: "Cruise Ship Mystery Ends in Suicide Finding."
By this weekend, the public’s focus seems to have evolved from a discussion of cruise ship mysteries to the issues of terminal illness and suicide. The comments to the article reflected a wide debate regarding suicide.
Many readers were moved by what they considered to be a brave decision by Ms. Carney to face death and to control her destiny. One reader said: "I admire her courage and feel for her family." Another commented: "one never knows the reasoning behind this woman’s choice . . . at least she was taking charge of her life and her death given her circumstances of whatever health issues faced her in the future."
But others were highly critical that Ms. Carney committed suicide:
"There is nothing courageous about suicide. It is singularly the most selfish act anyone can do. Instead of dealing with problems . . . killing yourself just creates a world of problems and a horrific amount of guilt for those you leave behind."
Others took a rather practical let’s-move-on approach: "she did it her way." Another pragmatist quipped: " . . . the only issue I have is that she did in fact waste other peoples’ time and money. A simple note would have sufficed."
One poster felt that Ms. Carney’s death reflected a greater problem with our health care and hospice systems, resulting in the inability for people to die with dignity in their own beds. "To die in a cold watery grave in the middle of no where is a sad comment on our humanity."
Certainly this is a sad way to go. One reader summed it up precisely: " . . . alone, lonely, and probably guilt-ridden, too. Did she have friends or family members who loved her? All alone by herself, thinking of dying amidst presumably-happy strangers."
When I decided to start this blog, I promised that I would not pull any punches. My opinions would be clear and deliberate. But in this case, I’m not sure what to think. I can understand each reader’s comments. It is a complicated, heart-wrenching riddle with no solution.
The last comment in the article by "Angel 333" is the only way to reflect on this tragedy:
"May you rest in peace Edelgard Carney."