assisted suicide tagged posts

The Turning Point on the (Hopefully) Long Journey Home

You reach a point in life—I’m not sure when it began but I know it has—that your people—friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, teachers, teammates— who have died begin to rival in number, and feel as present to you, as those who are still living. This represents some kind of turning point no one ever alluded to in my formative years, when they suggested all the exciting things awaiting me in my maturity.

No one ever took me aside back then in a candid moment and intoned, “All they’re saying is true, but at a certain point, you will also begin to suffer loss upon loss, and it will last until the very day you, too, will perish from this earth.”

Much as we suspect that might not be the most helpful and inspiring bit of wisdom for an elder to pass along to a youth in bloom, I’m not so sure it wouldn’t be at least as helpful as the traditional exhortations along the lines of, “You can be anything you w...

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Life, Aging, Death, Self: Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal”

The problem isn’t so much that in the end, we die. It’s in all the time leading up to the end. Not death, but severe decline is what puts fear in our hearts. A long debilitating illness or just aging that cuts us off progressively (regressively, come to think of it) from all that we love.

We all peak physically at some 30 years of age, but robustness and increased life satisfaction can persist for decades longer as we go about building our lives and come to accept our aging and its limitations with equanimity and often, good doses of humor.

But the decline does march on, as inexorable as fall following summer.

At a certain point, we stop running, then hiking, then walking without assistance, then walking altogether.

We stop driving long distances, then at night, then at all.

No more foreign travel, then it’s no to flying anywhere, then no more leaving our town, our house, and finally our room (except t...

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