johannes klabbers : end of life conversations

I am available for end of life conversations with people who don’t want to live anymore - and their families, partners and loved ones.

My book is full of examples of the different ways in which I’ve worked with people who are dying from cancer but I am also an advocate for those who no longer want to live and who want to have legal access to a means of ending their lives which is painless and dignified - if they want to do so.

Close to a million people each year end their lives worldwide. Many more, perhaps 8 million according to WHO estimates, make an attempt to end their lives. How many more are considering it?

There are good reasons for wanting to end your life, there are not so good reasons and there are very bad reasons. Each person has to work out for themselves whether their reasons are good reasons, and some people could use some help with this. I have worked with dozens of people to help them think through their options and the ethics and practical aspects of ending your life.

There are also bad ways to kill yourself. Ways that are violent, ways that cause a great deal of physical pain and discomfort to the dying person, that make a huge mess and that are traumatic for other people, partners, family and friends and for the people who happen to witness the act, or are inadvertently implicated in it, for people who have to see the result, and fpeople whose job is to clean up the mess.

If you don’t want to live anymore, fair enough, the bottom line is that it’s your life and that’s your choice - but deciding to end it does not mean that you don’t have an ethical and moral responsibility to the people that are going to continue to live since you’ll be dead and no one can hold you accountable.

No one wants to be dead,” the Dutch poet Rogi Wieg who ended his life with the assistance of a doctor under the Dutch euthanasia laws in 2015 said, but some people just don’t want the life that they have.”