My thoughts on "Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die" program

Published on: Jun 14, 2011

terry pratchett euthanasia

Being jet-lagged is no fun - I'm wide awake at 2am. But it allowed me to catch up on some programs I've recorded, like this particular one where Sir Terry Pratchett is following 2 men, and their respective families, in their quest to have an assisted death in Switzerland.

One of the "patients" is an old English gentleman. A VERY English gentleman, well spoken, intelligent - in one word, your ideal grandfather. But he's ill, with a disease that will soon get the best of him and will turn him into a vegetable. Therefore, he travelled, accompanied by his wife, to his unique clinic in Switzerland where he can be "helped" to die.

Listening to his arguments I can't help but feels the betrayal on his part. He's gonna die leaving behind someone very dear to him, someone that has been by his side for more than 40 years and doesn't agree with what he's doing. He's gonna steal future great moments away from his family. And he's doing all this at Christmas whilst his wife is wishing he'd been in England celebrating. Yes, there will be ugly parts in life (and I'm probably ignorant about those) but isn't this what life is all about?! We can't just have good times! Life has some ugly parts in it, otherwise it will be boring!

Whilst it is his decision and his only, I can't stop and wonder: can this be an undesired secondary effect of the individualistic society we're living in? What's the point in living if you choose to "bail out" before your time is up? Will religion, in the traditional sense, help here?

And he seems so calm and composed as he's gonna drink the poison whilst thanking everyone for being good to him.

Man, I wanna kick to TV and scream at him!

But again, I probably need to stop and think: what will I do if I was in that situation? How will I react to the promise of "peace"?

One thing I know for sure: many years ago, I had one of those "light at the end of the tunnel" moments and abandoning everything, letting all go, felt so peaceful, so magical. Like the weight of the world just came off my shoulders. And I was only a 19yo student with a fairly tranquil life. But then someone pulled me to the shore...

You can read more on the BBC website.

"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live, now." - Joan Baez