I (Patricia) got really sick of seeing hands in every article published about doctor-assisted suicide, euthanasia, MAID, or whatever your preferred terminology might be. A wrinkly old hand covered by the young healthy hand of a compassionate care-giver in a medical setting. You barely had to read the article to know what it was about and how “beautiful” and “right” it all was.
I didn’t want hands in LWD’s logo, but as it turned out, I liked this logo, because its stylized hands carry a very different message. I liked the diversity implied in the various strong, primary colours. I liked that there was a hint of a stop sign in the bright red hand. And I really liked the idea of four hands weaving together to make a safety net.
The logo itself suggests a way of organizing what our most urgent task will be: providing direct emergency assistance to individuals who may be at the end of their rope and considering MAiD as a way of ending their lives prematurely. Each hand represents a particular kind of assistance, as follows:
Practical. This includes food, clothing, housing, support services, medications, technology and other needed equipment required for living.
Financial. This will require aggressive and targeted fund-raising for particular, specific situations.
Emotional. This will involve developing lists of peers, professionals and non-professionals, who are willing to spend their time providing a listening ear, an open heart and a commitment to living as well as possible for as long as possible. The need for community engagement, validation, a new vocabulary and analytical tools cannot be over-stated.
Existential. Sometimes more than an empathetic ear is required. Needs that go beyond those covered by the categories above might require a somewhat different response. Whether those needs could be categorized as spiritual or philosophical, it will take someone who thinks in bigger ways than the average person to honour and respectfully engage on those matters.
We at Living With Dignity believe these urgent Mutual Aid initiatives may be at the heart of our work as an organization.