Shaking Hands with Death

I just took 30 minutes out of my day to read Terry Pratchett’s 2010 Richard Dimbleby Lecture which has just been published (book and Kindle) as “Shaking Hands with Death”. Some of his best writing, full of humour and passion and a measured addition to the argument for dignity in death.

The lecture is not long nor is it depressing but it speaks eloquently to one of the great issues facing an ageing population where the natural end of life is regularly thwarted by medicine which, whilst it can sustain, often fails to repair, or even prevent continued deterioration, of the lives so extended.

Many people will admit, as mentioned by Death himself, that being dead doesn’t scare them but the manner of their passing certainly does … it is really just another way of saying that they (or rather “we”) are frightened of being made to suffer – and that should be understood to mean not just externally caused pain but the suffering that comes from not being able to escape the pain you have. For those that can cope, great, you already have the support of the law, but those who can’t have no say in the matter.

Anyway, I am horrendously inarticulate compared with Sir Terry Pratchett, so whatever your view, go read ….