A ‘reasoned choice’ to end own life

We should all be able to make choices about our own lives – and our deaths, if we get left with that choice by authorities and health.

Stuff has an article on the choice of death in Daughters of Australian scientists who took their own lives reflect on their parents’ plan.

For as long as the blue-eyed Shaw sisters can remember, they knew their parents planned to one day take their own lives.

It was often a topic of conversation. Patricia and Peter Shaw would discuss with their three daughters their determination to avoid hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care units – any institution that would threaten their independence in old age.

Having watched siblings and elderly friends decline, Pat and Peter spoke of their desire to choose the time and manner of their deaths.

To this end, the Melbourne couple became members of Exit International, the pro-euthanasia group run by Philip Nitschke that teaches people peaceful methods to end their own lives.

The lengthy details of their lives concludes with a daughter’s comment:

“To those people who say we don’t have the right to choose the time and manner of our departure, our mother and father said, ‘Well, we do and we did’,” she said.

“I love their defiance right to the end. But these were two extraordinary human beings.”

A letter to an editor by Peter Shaw in 2007:

An his suicide note:

 

The right to choose for each of us should be respected.

I wouldn’t rule out doing something similar if accident or ill health doesn’t take the choice away from me, but I’m not ready to seriously consider it yet.

Leave a comment

19 Comments

  1. Pete Brian

     /  16th January 2016

    I don’t see an issue with this. You are your own master, if you choice to bow out early than do it, on one can stop you. It’s a non issue really.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th January 2016

      All one has to do is choose how. I have known several who have-and I must say that each has left sorrow and guilt behind them, because in no case was it because they were terminally ill as far as I know. (I don’t know if it was so in the case of my mother’s friend’s husband, I can’t remember) But it’s still a non-issue, as nobody can stop anyone doing it.. People already have that choice in most cases-the exceptions being those who are physically incapable of doing it, of course.

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  16th January 2016

        Why did Stuff mention the blue eyes, as if that had anything to do with it ? I can’t imagine why anyone who wrote about me as my mother’s daughter would describe me as ‘the grey-eyed daughter of………’

        Reply
  2. Timoti

     /  16th January 2016

    Collective consensus with no choice verses Liberty of a rational human being to choose a time for their exit.

    The latter has no chance in New Zealand. Religions,doctors and politicians all believe they have rights over your life. The first because God and his word are sacrosanct. The second because his profession makes him God. And the third because they think they are God Quite simple really.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th January 2016

      Those are sweeping generalisations, How many doctors believe that their profession makes them God ? There are women doctors, by the way. How many politicians believe this ? None of the ones I know and have known do so.

      A doctor won’t kill you, but they can’t stop you doing it-providing you are physically capable.

      If these people were God because their profession made them God*, or believed they were, they would believe that they had the right to end any life.

      * They can’t all be God-there is only one God.

      Reply
      • Timoti

         /  16th January 2016

        Many doctors believe they are god. And, yes, many compassionate doctors do kill their patients as an end of life mercy. Sorry to shatter your reality. Women doctors?…get out.!!!!!!

        You may have some questions. Fire away, Kittycat

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  17th January 2016

          There is a difference between something like witholding antibiotics which we know happens. and actively killing someone in a way that would be obvious. If patient-killing happened, we wouldn’t know about it unless the person doing it was caught-no doctor would be fool enough to broadcast it and be convicted of murder. I know that in the old days it seems that a doctor would tell someone not to take-or give-more than x pills or the result would be fatal and then not ask questions-or so I have heard. But once again, no doctor would tell anyone that they’d done it, it’s anecdotal. Remember Harold Shipman ? He killed his patients and was caught-and given life.

          How many doctors believe that they are God ? Name five who do.

          Reply
  3. Brown

     /  16th January 2016

    While I cannot object to people topping themselves having planned my own demise on occasion) I have just read Bishop Latimer’s sermon on the passion of Christ (mid 1500’s). He makes a good case for seeking death because we don’t want to contemplate something as the coward’s way out and not something we should aspire to or treat as noble. All foolishness to the secular of course but to any God botherers out there I would recommend it as an interesting take on courage in the face of unpleasantness. Arguably Christ’s worst moment was in the garden of Gesthemane before arrest, not the actual crucifiction.

    Reply
    • Timoti

       /  16th January 2016

      Mother Teresa, in contrast with her public persona, believed in holy suffering right till the end. Some of those poor bastards in her hospices would have needed much courage in their final hours.

      Dion Fortune also believed in making deaths job as hard as possible. Fight it tell the end, after all death is painless and a great healer she once intoned.

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  16th January 2016

        A useful but uneducated tool. The RC’s have much to be ashamed of pushing her barrow.

        Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th January 2016

      I would think that nothing could be worse that having huge nails driven through your hands and feet and dying the hideous death that crucifxion was-one of the cruellest execution methods of all time because it was not only agony when it began, it was an appallingly slow and agonising death. People could linger for days like that. At least most modern methods are quick-not that that makes execution all right.

      Mother Theresa may have been ‘an uneducated tool’, but as some of the disciples were, too, the Roman Catholics have nothing to be ashamed of. She was a marvellous person.

      Reply
      • Timoti

         /  16th January 2016

        No she wasn’t.

        Reply
      • Brown

         /  16th January 2016

        Go and read Latimer’s sermons and get your head around some sound theology.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  16th January 2016

          i am fully aware of what happened in the garden, thank you. I have also known people who have suffered torture. Anything that does that sort of damage to the hands is about as painful as it’s possible to imagine. I knew a Holocaust survivor who had his nails-all of them-pulled out and his hands and feet crushed with a sledgehammer. This is probably about as close to the agony of being crucified as one is likely to suffer without being it. To be crucified means to hang from your nailed hands and feet for as long as it takes for you to die. Psychological pain and physical pain are quite different.

          I was married to a theologian; I know something about the subject. We had friends who were internationally renowned theologians. I suspect that there are more books on theology in this house than there are in yours.

          Torture and crucifixion are rather more than ‘unpleasantness’.

          Reply
          • Brown

             /  17th January 2016

            You are completely missing the point so having a house full of theology books appears wasted space.

            Reply
            • kittycatkin

               /  17th January 2016

              People who lose an argument often have to fall back on the point-missing cliched excuse. I don’t have a house full of theology books, only one bookcase full-well, one and part of another.

  4. Only an issue for me where it intersects with ‘Death with Dignity’. Those who are not terminally ill who remain determined to end their own lives will obviously have to resort to suicide, although I think the negative connotations attached to that word will be unfortunate in some cases.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th January 2016

      I can’t think of an alternative to ‘suicide’ that isn’t cumbersome and PC, but I take your point. ‘Tsking one’s own life’ is a bit long-winded, but better than ‘committing suicide’ to me,although it’s the same thing. I loathe it when suicide is used as a verb. Ouch.

      Reply

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