Choosing Death — When and How


There are choices regarding where and how you spend your final days of life including the option of allowing death to come. There are ways to legally say,” I have a terminal condition and  don’t want to continue on like this any longer.”  Originally written in 1991, the only one of these that runs into legal issues in the US is Final Exit.

My personal  experience?  In the final couple of his 95 years my father often said “I’m ready when it comes.”  But we didn’t know to talk about what that meant in a practical sense.  In reality no one gave him the option to simply go home when it was discovered that  (although he had no sense of discomfort) he had pneumonia. I believe he COULD have been given a choice — to enter the hospital and see what could be done or to allow the pneumonia to bring the natural end of his life. He could have been kept comfortable – having all of his last days at home.  Instead he spent the first five of his eight  final days in the hospital learning how many parts of his  body were beyond repair.  Would that have been his choice? We will never know. Thankfully he was allowed to die where he wanted – at home.                      Joanna Rueter

Click on the images to go to the book on Amazon or visit your independent book dealer.


 A Better Way of Dying book cover

A Better Way of Dying: How To Make the Best Choices at the End of Life , Jeanne Fitzpatrick and  Eileen Fitzpatrick 2010  Two sisters – an attorney and a medical doctor write about what they see as a  fail-safe plan for ensuring ones final wishes are respected.

This little book  talks about “exit events” , illnesses which left untreated are a way of choosing death. This book was eye opening to me. It is one of my two MUST READ recommendations.



The Best Way to Say Goodbye Book cover

The BEST WAY to Say Goodbye:A Legal Peaceful Choice at the End of Life, Stanley A. Terman, PhD,MD. 2007 A detailed study of the technicalities and nuances of advance directives and the option of Voluntary Refusal of Food and Fluid.




Final Exit Book cover
Final Exit:The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, Derek Humphry 2002.  The Founder of Hemlock Society writes his rationale for assisted dying.





How Doctors Die.  It’s not Like the Rest of Us But Should Be Nov 2011 Nexus


Death, Budgets, and Generational Justice

A justice related argument for allowing death to happen naturally. 31 minutes


DYING WISH: A dying doctor’s decision to stop eating and drinking and die with grace. 2008 Retired surgeon, Michael Miller, is dying of end-stage cancer and is determined to avoid going to the hospital,  preferring a natural death. His decisions is to stop taking in food and fluids.  (29 mins)


the Sea Inside - movie
the SEA INSIDE  2004   Based on the true story of Ramon Sampedro (of Spain) who due to a crippling accident as a young man fought a 30year battle to win the right to end his life with dignity. Celebrates the nature of freedom and love and mystery and the beauty of life (English subtitles)