8/11/10 Meria Heller interviews John West, author of “The Last Goodnights, Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides”. What would you do? Learn what this courageous son did for his parents; John holds a law degree and is now an activist for death with dignity. Euthanasia for pets but not people we love? death as a personal choice; medicine keeps us living longer, not necessarily better; medicine keeps us dying longer too; the privilege of dying at home; John’s parents were both medical professionals and knew what to expect; medicine – corporatized bureau-craptic; the issues around death decisions; Oregon, Washington State & Montana – assisted death; Is suicide legal?His dad’s cancer, his mom’s alzheimer’s; “Soylent Green” and going home; warehousing of the elderly; the elder care industry; the pact between parent and child; socio-economics of the issue; the great “depression” and more. Fabulous book.
A husband and wife are gravely ill. Rather than living in pain, they choose to end their lives, and they turn to their son for help. Despite the legal risks and emotional turmoil it is sure to cause him, he agrees—and ultimately performs an act of love more difficult than any other. The Last Goodnights provides a unique and unflinching look deep inside the reality of one of the most galvanizing issues of our time: assisted suicide. Told with bare honesty, John West's account of the deaths of two brave people is both gritty and loving, frightening and illuminating. It also offers a powerful testament to the act of death by choice, and reveals all the reasons why end-of-life issues are far too personal for government intrusion. Intimately told, The Last Goodnights points out the unnecessary pain and suffering that is often forced upon dying people and their families, and honors the choice to live or die with purpose and dignity. In the end, this story is not just about death—it is also about love, courage, and autonomy.