Today, I learned about the existence of David Goodall – a renowned 104-year-old botanist who flew from Australia to Switzerland to utilize the country’s assisted-suicide facilities. While stories like these are probably more common than I imagine (albeit, with younger people), what made this occasion special was the invitation of press coverage.
You see, Goodall had a mission. He was a representative of Exit International – a nonprofit advocating the legalization of euthanasia. He wanted the world to know that some people want to die, despite being perfectly healthy and of sound mind. You don’t have to be broody and depressed to want to die. Sometimes you’ve just had enough of life, and that’s reason enough.
In his own words when asked if he was happy, “No, I am not happy. I want to die.”
And sure enough, the media brought his story to light. They covered his life, his decisions, and his situation. It sparked a lot of debate, and while I don’t know if Goodall’s death directed impacted any policies worldwide, it gave him the attention he was looking for.
Goodall wasn’t enjoying his life. He no longer could do the things he enjoyed despite being healthy. Sure, he was slowly deteriorating, but it was a slow process. He lost the ability to drive, his eyesight started failing, he had a fall in his home and was only discovered after two days by his cleaner. His quality of life wasn’t great and yet he was still illegible for assisted suicide in Victoria, Australia – the only state where it’s legal but only if you’re terminally ill.
He didn’t know how long he was going to live for, but whatever that number was, it was too much for him. He announced his plans to his family in April 2018 and set his plan in motion. A month later, he flew to Switzerland and was administered a lethal dose of Nembutal (by his hand), to the soundtrack of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
Usually, I’m not an advocate for suicide – but hey, if someone in his position requests for assisted suicide and they are in the right mind, I think it should be granted. It’s a long and troublesome process that nobody applies for on a whim. You’ve got to want it if you want it. Also, it’s not cheap (sorry, poor people, you’ll have to do it illegally – or do something stupid like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 3).
Here’s why it’s okay for old people to want to die even if they’re not close to death – they’ve lived for a long time. They’ve probably done everything they’ve ever wanted to do in life, there’s nothing more to experience – they’ve hit the max level cap. Especially for people like Goodall – he’s been married thrice, lived in multiple countries, and earned accolades for his work. For crying out loud, he used to perform in a theater till he was 90, and was still working at the age of 103!
Goodall didn’t want to be a burden on people (my man) and dreaded the thought of living in a nursing home. It was going to be beneficial to his family since they wouldn’t have to care or worry about him anymore. I thought that was very selfless of him. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I agree with euthanasia.
I’m sure I won’t live until anywhere near a hundred, but in the event where I require assistance to end my existence, this post is up for everyone to read if they were unconvinced by my decision.
You fought a good fight, Mr. Goodall, rest in peace.