Living with Dignity

July 16, 2013

98-year-old Peterson dancing with her grandson at his wedding

98-year-old Peterson dancing with her grandson at his wedding

Last week we laid my husband’s grandmother to rest. Amanda Peterson lived 101 years of a rich, full life. I met her late in her life after my husband and I started dating, but I was always astonished at the faith she exhibited. Her 13 siblings were all gone, and her husband too. She was living in her own apartment when we met and she got around great, despite her blindness and relative deafness. Since I knew her, she always said she was ready to go Home, but knew it wasn’t up to her and that God had her here for a reason.

Working in the pro-life movement daily, I fight for the dignity of all innocent, human lives. Largely I focus on eradicating our nation of the sin of abortion, but a wide scale cultural and political fight looms over end of life issues.

In November, a Massachusetts ballot initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide narrowly failed. But just this past May, similar legislation passed in Vermont. Four states now have assisted suicide. Turn on the TV and you’ll see assisted suicide featured in prime-time.

American euthanasia supporters may argue that they support only allowing euthanasia for the terminally ill facing pain from their condition, but euthanasia will not long stay limited to that. Earlier this year we saw world news headlines when two twin brothers in Belgium chose to end their lives through doctor-assisted suicide because they couldn’t bear the thought of going blind and not being able to see one another again.

Death is something we all face at some point in our earthly lives, but we can’t predict the hour when that will come, nor should we try. The elderly and the sick among us need to know that their lives have worth, no matter what ails them. Our role, as pro-life advocates is to celebrate the lives around us regardless of physical abilities or age from fertilization to natural death.

One of my favorite verses from the Old Testament is from Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

My husband’s grandmother knew this simple truth as well. In an interview for her apartment’s newsletter before her 101st birthday, she even said, “God has other plans for me; He’s not ready for me yet.”

She was a blessing to my husband’s family in countless ways, even in the waning days of her life. And the blessing I’m most in awe of, was how she showed those around her how to live with dignity.



  1. Cathie Humbarger says:

    Wonderful reminder of the treasure we have in the wisdom of those who have lived many years. From what is widely recognized as the “pro-life psalm” 139 v. 16: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

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