Monday, October 29, 2012

Physician-Assisted Suicide

Emil loves going to the store. 

Not wanting to go to bed last night, I sat up alone. Couldn't find anything to watch on TV till midnight when a movie starring Julie Walters came on. A Short Stay in Switzerland is based on a true story about a woman's decision to go to Switzerland, where doctor-assisted suicide is legal, because she was dying of a debilitating disease.

It brought back memories of Mom's final year of life. Putting on lipstick: in the movie, it was in preparation for a filmed interview about the need to legalize assisted suicide. For us, it was Mom putting on her lipstick and a brave face to look as bright as possible for what we all knew was likely our last Christmas with her. In the movie, it was the unbearable goodbye to your loved ones and the regret that your dying is breaking their hearts. Likewise for us. In the movie, the woman's death came swiftly after taking a prescribed barbituate. In our story, the death scene lasted several days, and we did not all collapse in sobs upon Mom's body after she took her last breath. That grief we each kept to ourselves, as I recall.

By the time the movie was over it was nearly 2 a.m. and then I didn't sleep for another couple hours. Had made a batch of kahlua while supper was on the stove, and drank two strong Brown Cows throughout the evening. Forgot kahlua has coffee in it.

So, Switzerland it is, if I am ever faced with prolonged suffering before death.


  1. Watched the same movie here. Very sad, very controversial subject but one that needs to be discussed.

  2. I'm with you on this issue. My mother's last few days were anything but peaceful and quick. It left me with terrible guilt, as a participant to her pain and suffering. I didn't let my dog suffer that much torture.

  3. My mother's last few days were horrible, but her unconscious will to hold on was remarkable. It would have been so much easier on us if she'd have went easily and quick, but her drawn-out passing revealed a strength I had never seen before. So, I don't know how I feel about dr. Assisted suicide anymore....

  4. Argh did my comment not post?

  5. Ok I guess my comment disappeared. My mother's final days were long, drawn out episodes of unconscious breathing. As much as it pained me, there was something heroic in how she held on and fought each breath until the end. So, I dunno if I could do the assisted thing.

  6. Hi JT. I've got "approved" commenting set up, that's why the delay in your comments showing. I get a half-dozen of those "anonymous" robot spam things in the comments every day, and damned if I'm letting them get their advertising in here.

    I'm not sure I understand your reasoning. Physician-assisted suicide is something terminal patients can choose or not choose. It's not up to the family.

    My mom's body fought to live as well, though she herself would have chosen not to suffer.


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