Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 89 and says he is ‘half-deaf and half-blind’. He faces daily challenges but he makes every day – and every word – count. After reading about the death of an older woman hit by a vehicle, and to highlight his concerns about end-of-life rights, he wrote the following short story.
For 75 years, the single-fronted cottage on the busy, inner-suburban road had been their home.
Determined to never leave it, alive, they had often discussed assisted dying. A trip to Switzerland being beyond their means, they had discussed “do-it-yourself-dying” and decided how to do it.
She, ever since early girlhood, had been neat and clean almost to the point of being obsessive. For her, her own incontinence was unbearable, daily torture. She would “go first”.
Every day, weather permitting, they would stand, on their walking frames, at the traffic lights just down the road. They watched the continuous flow of cars, buses and heavy commercial vehicle traffic on the busy road.
This day, they watched the vehicles and, as the traffic lights turned green, he said, “Now”. She squeezed his hand, said, “Goodbye John” and stepped in front of the towering, concrete truck as it started to move away.
Peter is seeking your input. He writes: “Are you dying? Oops! Silly question! Of course, we are all dying. What I mean is, have you been given a diagnosis and a timeframe? If you have, perhaps you might like to tell me about it and, with your approval, I could write your story for the interest and benefit of YourLifeChoices’ many readers like us.”
Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Peter’ in the subject line.