At age 104, respected Australian scientist David Goodall had done all that he had wanted in his life. In addition, his health was failing, although that physical condition was not what is medically defined as "terminal."
Recently, he had to journey from his homeland - Australia - where assisted suicide for the elderly is not legal to Switzerland. In Switzerland, it is possible to gain access to assisted suicide even though one is not terminally ill.
Incidentally, in Belgium, it is now legal for those with severe psychiatric conditions to be granted the same service.
Right now, Goodall is in Switzerland. He calmly and joyfully awaits going gently into the night, with the help of competent medical technicians. Members of the media heard him belting out some notes from Beethoven's Ninth. Here is the coverage.
Through this high-profile decision to end his life, Goodall has, of course, set in play a global movement to make assisted suicide for the elderly legal.
The reality is that suicide is not easy to accomplish without medical supervision. There are too many variables involved.
Typical is the person who jumps from a height and survives, only to live with brain damage. Gone also is the ability to try again. There are also those who are inept in the use of a gun. Their aim is off. The rest is a grim sentence to life without access to what it will take to do the job right. Taking poison can precipitate a long painful dying process. The attempt to secure lethal drugs can wind up in a prison sentence.
But being an advocate for legalizing assisted suicide for the elderly is not all Goodall is pulling off.
In addition, Goodall's choice implicitly gives the aging the right to consider following his path.
Yes, Goodall sends the message: The aging might indeed have the right to die. How welcome.
Without assisted suicide, they can face the worst of aging. That could include enduring the 10-year loss of cognitive abilities as well as physical control after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
Of course, there are those who argue that if assisted suicide is legal for the aging, they could be coerced to give up on surviving.
After all, the aging consume entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Although many continue to be productive and earn a living after-65, in a capitalist society they could be perceived as a "burden." Nazi-like values always have danced on the rim of civilization. Eskimo cultures sent their elderly off to die.
Moreover, the dread of what could be ahead can throw shade on the life the aging are living today. For many of us, it represents the best of times.
At age 73, I operate two boutiques. One is in communications. The other is coaching those over-50 how to keep working Download IntroducingYoutoCoachJaneGenova.
My health is excellent.
Despite some reversals of fortune, I am financially back on my feet. It's fun checking my Edward Jones brokerage account (usually).
Unlike the years working in the Northeast Corridor rat race, here in the Midwest I can be relaxed about professional achievement. My experience makes me a valued mentor.
But, I am no fool. Gradually or suddenly this high quality of life could end. I want to be in front of that. That means knowing I could say adieu to what has been a surprisingly wonderful life for a poor kid from the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.