As you know, Terry Pratchett’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has now become an advocate of assisted suicide. He’s profiled around all this at the SMH. Sorry to be a downer, but like the piece on loneliness below, the issue is only going to become more prevalent as the baby boomers reach the upper ordinals and start losing partners and/or facing grim futures. And with full grasp of the irony of what I’m about to say, I say you’ve got to be glad people as intelligent, eloquent, and classy as Pratchett and White are giving it all some thought before you have to.
”I have no desire to pop my clogs in the next few years,” he says from his home.
”But I don’t particularly want to spend a lot of time in bed being fed through a tube. That’s what my father said, too. He didn’t want to die that way but then he had to.”
Pratchett presented his argument for assisted suicide last week, while delivering a lecture for the BBC, saying: ”I would like to die peacefully before the disease takes me over.
”If I knew that I could die at any time I wanted then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds. If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.”
They were dignified, considered words. Even so, Pratchett expected all hell to break loose. To his surprise, it didn’t. ”Some archbishops have said nasty things but I look on that as a plus,” he says, lucidly and softly.
”Apart from that, not a single person has thumbed their nose at me. People are saying, ‘How can we join in?