Helping a parent to die
Famous author’s daughter speaks out on helping a sick parent to die.
It’s called doctor-assisted suicide, assisted suicide or euthanasia: When a person feels that his quality of life has been compromised by a medical condition to the point that he does not wish to live, and he asks for assistance in ending his life.
Pratchett speaks on the “right to die”
The debate around assisted suicide is vigorous, and famous author Terry Pratchett is just one outspoken advocate- not only because he believes it’s the right of a person to be able to choose, but also because after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he has closely examined the topic- even to the point of getting his daughter to say she would support him if he chose to end his life, according to the Daily Mail.
Parents often keep their serious medical conditions from their children- understandably- especially when the children are young and ill-adept at understanding the concepts of terminal illness or death. Assisted suicide allows the parent to discuss the ramifications of an illness with an older (most likely adult) child, in order to help prepare that child for the emotional, financial and other outcomes.
Sharing the illness allows the older (adult) child to provide support and care to the parent, giving the child the chance to discuss fond memories, current passions and helps the child to adapt to life without mom or dad.
Adult children are far more capable of processing adult life experiences, and when close to the ailing parent, may provide comfort to the parent during the final months or years.
Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna, 36, commented that she found it an important topic to discuss, even though it hasn’t been easy. She and her father, world renowned author of the Discworld series have had long debates about the topic of assisted suicide, which he firmly believes should become commonplace. It is currently only legal in Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and certain U.S. states.
The "End Game"
She says, “Dad calls it “The End Game”. No definite decisions have been made about it but he has my full support for whatever he decides to do. It is his life, his death and his choice.”
“Dad’s illness has made us much closer. My mother has been amazingly upbeat and supportive. When there are just the three of you, you get on with it”.
There are obvious legal ramifications- a doctor may not participate in euthanasia unless it is legally allowed in the country in which he practices, leading to “suicide tourism”, the practice of travelling to a country where it is legal in order to do it. Family members often travel with the patient to a clinic where the euthanasia takes place, and share the final moments.
In addition the debate revolves around religious and moral concepts on suicide and the “right to death”.
In South Africa, the practice is not currently legal.
It could happen to you...
Depending on your personal point of view, it is something that you may need to think about one day: Would you involve your adult child in the process of your assisted suicide, should you have reached the point where you believe life is not worth living, according to euthanasia practices?
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Would you involve your adult child in your own euthanasia?