I want to be a burden on my family as I die, and for them to be a burden on me

Categories: In The Media.

Doctors still don’t, MPs don’t, and the clergy don’t. But even the majority of people in the pews now support assisted suicide.

And I have little doubt that, soon enough, the law will follow. These days, people say they want to die quickly, painlessly in their sleep and without becoming a burden. Apparently, this is what a good death now looks like. Well, I want to offer a minority report.

I do want to be a burden on my loved ones just as I want them to be a burden on me – it’s called looking after each other. Obviously, I know people are terrified of the indignity of dying and of being ill generally. Having someone wipe our bums, clean up our mess, put up with our incoherent ramblings and mood swings is a threat to our cherished sense of personal autonomy.

But this is where the liberal model of individual self-determination breaks down. For it is when we are this vulnerable that we have little choice but to allow ourselves to be loved and looked after. Lying in a bed full of our own faeces, unable to do anything about it, is when we break with the idea of René Descartes’ pernicious “I think therefore I am”.

 This article was featured on the Gaurdian Website.

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