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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides

The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides - John West Medical science has found numerous ways to prolong life. But ending life is a bit more dicey. Those cursed with the misfortune of being afflicted with a long slow terminal illness are required to suffer the related pain and indignities to the very end. The author of this book tells the story of how he helped both his parents, at their request, die in a manner that allowed them to avoid the expected suffering caused by their respective terminal illnesses.

It is a subject with which I feel uncomfortable. I would never have read this book except that it was selected by a book group I attend. I have some sympathy for the author's wish that his actions not be considered a criminal offense. But I recognize the potential for abuse with no controls.

One think is clear, it is asking too much on the part parents to expect their children to help them die. It is asking their children to risk being charged with murder. The author went through a lot of anguish because of his covert planning, scheming and actions. A parent can show respect and concern from their children's welfare by not making such an emotionally charged request. A difficult death may cause less anguish than the alternative.

Of course things could be a lot different if there were legal alternatives. And that is the whole point of this book. The author believes his parents should have had a legal way to end their lives at a time of their choosing.