There was a lot of talk and controversy this week surrounding the documentary, hosted by Terry Pratchett, about a man with Motor Neurone disease who had chosen to travel to Switzerland and uphold his right to take his own life. The documentary came under the spotlight because it filmed right up until and during the moment of his passing. I didn't watch, and that was a personal choice, but I understand it was very moving, emotional and thought-provoking.
Though I personally have no interest in watching someone die, and find the thought quite distasteful whatever the reason for its broadcast, I can fully appreciate why the programme makers made the decision they did to show the death in full. It is important that we, as human beings, are given the right to choose the manner of our own passing should we be in a situation from which we are never going to return though whether or not I would make a similar choice, I am not sure. (I think I would rather go out kicking and screaming!) I also think it is important that people be educated and see exactly what goes on in such clinics as, with similar schemes forbidden in this country, it is important that people be aware of all the facts before making an informed decision. Assisted Suicide seems to be a dirty phrase in this country but I think we all have to remember it is our life and we probably should be given the right to end it when we choose.
Though it is a different matter entirely, I had an uncle who killed himself by breathing in exhaust fumes a few years ago now. He did it because of financial worries and depression but my thoughts have always been that, despite the damage and hurt it did to the rest of Mum's family, it was his decision and you have to respect the fact that it was his life to do with as he pleased to a certain degree. The question there is as to whether or not he was in his own mind when he made the decision and that is something no one will ever know. But essentially, why does anyone else have the right to say that, if we have considered all the options, we shouldn't be allowed to take our own life?
It is a difficult and troubled subject and maybe the death of two relatives in recent years (I lost another Uncle this year to complications of Pneumonia and Emphysema) was still too raw for me to be able to digest the programme objectively. Either way, I can fully understand why the decision was made as to why to show the programme and why Terry Pratchett, diagnosed with Alzheimers in the last few years, would want to help make the show.
I just didn't want to watch it.
If only we, in this country, were given the right to make other choices so easily.......