SHE was exhausted by her illness but eloquent when asserting she wanted to die.
“Elizabeth” was tired of fighting the intractable pain, she said. As a Christian, she was not afraid of death. In fact, she welcomed it.
She said goodbye to those she loved the night before her planned peaceful exit from this world.
It was a sad yet serene time. Those who gathered at her bedside believed she had the right to die when she wished.
She knew that both passive euthanasia (switching off life-support systems) and active euthanasia (administering of a fatal drug dose) was practised by some doctors. It had not been hard to find the help she needed.
If she had religious misgivings about ending it all, she did not mention them. She seemed to have no qualms about the legality.
Near the end, the subject of death was not enshrined in the usual taboos. Perhaps it should always be that way.
Legal and medical quandries about the definition of death and rights of the terminally ill, and their families and friends, have challenged us all.
The word euthanasia is derived from the Greek words eu and thanatos meaning good death. It was originally a word with positive aspects
In many Western nations, suicide is now legal. But euthanasia is illegal and the only lawful option is to remain alive, often in great pain, until the body collapses.
The problem is that the protraction of dying has become a by-product of medical technology. Death is not seen as something natural but as something alien. Illnesses are treated with every possible medical weapon, sometimes with little thought for the ill.
Euthanasia is seen by many as an unacceptable horror. Yet cryogenic storage of dead bodies and heads is promoted by others as a means of preserving the deceased in a form suitable for future scientific therapies.