Life After Kevorkian

William Saletan in Slate:

Kevo Jack Kevorkian is dead. He didn't kill himself. But after years of failing health, he received his own medicine: a merciful end. He was 83. So was my father. Two months ago, my dad passed away. Like Kevorkian, he had cancer. He saw the end coming. He rejected chemotherapy, turned to hospice care, and went home to die. I spent weeks with him. He was at peace with the prospect of oblivion. Two weeks before he died, a group of friends came over to toast him. They said they were really going to miss him. “Well,” my dad joked, “Since I don't believe in an afterlife, I'm not going to miss you.”

Death was OK. But suffocation wasn't. His body, filling up with cancer, couldn't breathe. I saw the anxious look in his eyes, heard the plaintive tone as he asked the nurse for a little extra morphine. She stared back, gauging him. This, I learned, is what good caregivers do. They don't shut you down or hasten your death the first time you ask. They want to be certain you need it. They want to make sure that what's coming out of your mouth is your will, not just a moment of panic.

I always thought Kevorkian was basically right about assisted suicide.

More here.