Scientists Pat and Peter Shaw died in a suicide pact in October. Here, their daughters reflect on their parents’ plan – and their remarkable lives

Julia Medew in The Age:

ScreenHunter_1629 Jan. 17 18.39For as long as the blue-eyed Shaw sisters can remember, they knew that their parents planned to one day take their own lives.

It was often a topic of conversation. Patricia and Peter Shaw would discuss with their three daughters their determination to avoid hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care units – any institution that would threaten their independence in old age.

Having watched siblings and elderly friends decline, Pat and Peter spoke of their desire to choose the time and manner of their deaths.

To this end, the Brighton couple became members of Exit International, the pro-euthanasia group run by Philip Nitschke that teaches people peaceful methods to end their own lives.

The family had a good line in black humour. The three sisters recall telephone conversations with their mother in which she would joke about the equipment their father had bought after attending Exit workshops. “He’s in the bedroom testing it,” Pat would quip.

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