Blessed are the Bottom Wipers

There is much debate around ‘assisted dying’ at the moment, with people demanding the right to control their mortality, including mode and time of death. ‘Death with dignity’ seems to be the rallying cry. But just what is dignity?


He hangs there in his hoist

Above the bathroom floor,

Unable to lift a finger

To help himself anymore.



The carer who cares for him.

By society so poorly rated,

Doing all the basic things

That we may take for granted.



Since his horror bike crash,

Yet so alert in his head,

Unfeeling the other’s touch;

All feeling bleak instead.



Are the bottom wipers, who,

Whether they know or not,

Are tending to Christ Jesus,

With every dribble and snot.


Where is

Dignity for this young man?

And quality of life indeed,

When dependent on another,

To help him when he’s pee’d?


Is then

Dignity something lost to him,

Embarrassed by his inability?

Or is it altogether different,

Perhaps an interior quality?



Dignity is a certain composure,

Based on acceptance, hard won,

Of a life worth more than living,

And our humanity as divine icon?


What if,

For some, there is no acceptance,

Just a constant, mauling death wish,

Made more awful by dependence

On some other to accomplish this?


To which,

‘Assisted dying’: helping the helpless?

But don’t confuse it with dignity,

Which is never lost to a person

By reason of terminal infirmity.