The BLOG: Voices

Compassionate death is not assisted suicide

It makes no sense to sell yourself or others short at the end of life and commit suicide. Many beautiful bedside conversations take place near the end of life. I remember visiting my uncle and his family at the end of his life. He knew he was dying, but all his family was there keeping him company and celebrating what a good life it had been. We even had wine and cheese. His eyes were aglow in a way that I could not put into words. He was joyful.

When my mother was ill with cancer, she knew her time was short. She wanted to be with family; the time was precious. During those months — six in total — her grandson Luke was born. She was able to old him and spend time with him as well as other grandchildren. Friends visited and kept her company. Neighbors poured themselves out baking and preparing foods for her and our family. Her suffering released love and compassion from many.

In her last days, we all gathered around her bedside in our home. Her brothers and sisters also came from distant states to be together as she became less able to talk and eat. However, they recognized the value of just accompanying her. She could hear us and we reassured her. This was comforting.

There is both a mystery to death as there is to life. We are not in control of these mysteries and that is part of the beauty of both.

Mary Roque

Mary Roque

Mary Roque is a trusts and estates attorney in Medfield and Boston, and co-owner of the home health agency Entrust Care.