Deep emotions. Self-examination. Joy and seriousness. A roomful of people gathered together last week to spend the day familiarizing themselves not just with ‘methods of self-euthanasia’ (helium and other techniques), but facing the fears, breaking taboos, finding a new community of openness for a sensible discussion but also much laughter and shared good feelings.
It was one of Exit’s long-running full-day interactive workshops. There was a look at the law and the moral dilemmas, then fast forward to imagine a situation when time runs out. Could you remain so calm? Take decisions sensibly and in full control?
Exit workshops are carefully paced to allow people time and opportunity to examine their feelings as well as the physical and intellectual dexterity that they might need one day. Different ‘methods’ are compared and questions asked. What about if you were paralysed? What if an illness was not so serious after all? How do you make sure you get the best pain relief available? For the practicals, people work in small groups, finding out for themselves, what helium is really like, how to make their own ‘hood’ should they need one one day, the pitfalls and care points of five or more methods: not just to think, “I am going to do this one day,” but to know that one is capable should all else fail.
But “A Good Death” is not just about knowing how to swallow pills or use inert gas or any of the other most safe, reliable methods of drawing one’s life to a close when the time comes: it is about peace of mind. A sense of life completed. A sense of one’s own time. The tried and tested techniques for achieving mental composure are introduced. Being at ease with oneself, one’s loved ones and the rest of the world is just as much a part of a “good death” as is lack of pain and indignity in the final moments.
Workshop facilitator Chris Docker has spent not only more than 20 years researching methods of self-deliverance (rational suicide), but has also trained in suicide prevention, palliative care, and advanced meditation techniques. He holds a Masters Degree in Law & Ethics in Medicine and has been a leading advisor on the legalities of end-of-life issues to the professions.
EXIT: THE SELF-EUTHANASIA MOVIE See the trailer HERE