Terry Pratchett on the right to die

Terry Pratchett, who has early-onset Alzheimer's (and whose mental acuity is still fine) has written a stirring editorial on the need to legalize suicide in the UK. He avows his intention to commit suicide, to "jump before I am pushed," and explains why.

More than 100 Britons have travelled to assisted suicide clinics in Switzerland, and their loved ones face prosecution for accompanying them.

I write this as someone who has, regrettably, become famous for having Alzheimer's. Although being famous is all the rage these days, it's fame I could do without.

I know enough to realise there will not be a cure within my lifetime and I know the later stages of the disease can be very unpleasant. Indeed, it's the most feared disease among the over-65s.

Naturally, I turn my attention to the future. There used to be a term known as 'mercy killing'. I cannot believe it ever had any force in law but it did, and still does, persist in the public consciousness, and in general the public consciousness gets it right.

We would not walk away from a man being attacked by a monster, and if we couldn't get the ravening beast off him we might well conclude that some instant means of less painful death would be preferable before the monster ate him alive…

I am enjoying my life to the full, and hope to continue for quite some time. But I also intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod – the latter because Thomas's music could lift even an atheist a little bit closer to Heaven – and perhaps a second brandy if there is time.

Oh, and since this is England I had better add: 'If wet, in the library.'

Who could say that is bad? Where is the evil here?

I'll die before the endgame, says Terry Pratchett in call for law to allow assisted suicides in UK

(via Forbidden Planet)

(Image: Terry Pratchett, Powell's, a Creative Commons Attribution licensed photo from Firepile's Flickr stream)

(Note: it takes something damned important to get me to link to the vile Daily Mail. This qualifies.)