The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
Published September 26, 2010 in Opinion, Letters
It’s been a year since my uncle opted for assisted suicide. To me it’s an excruciating anniversary. He talked about this for a year before it became law. He’d had surgery for cancer which left him with a catheter. He was depressed at 94 but was home with assistance from friends and health givers. I thought this could never happen because he was just old and depressed.
When the law became reality, friends helped him with his quest. They took him to doctors that my uncle convinced this was what he wanted. His profession had been car salesman so he got the doctors to sign off on him. Friends who were his caretakers tried to talk him out of it, saying it wasn’t right because he wasn’t terminal.
The date was set for the final event. I loved him and wanted to be with him when he died. It felt like an execution.
The details are still painful. Holding him the 25 minutes it took for his heart to stop.
My uncle was the third person to die under the new law. Depressed yes. Terminal no.
My thoughts in that hour: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”
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