It was with some satisfaction that I read the eloquent rebuttal to my letter ”At the End” (The Review. 15 February 2023) written by Marlana Carnett (The Review 22 February 2023).

As the Editor, I am sure you are as familiar as I with the feeling of disappointment when, after having taken the trouble to think carefully on a subject, write on it and have it distributed, only for it to provoke no reaction whatsoever. No response either for or against, merely silence. I was therefore fortunate in that I heard from a number of persons regarding ”At the End”, one of which was Ms. Carnett and for that I must here thank her.  

Perhaps I did not fully understand her point (and if so, I shall apologize in advance) but my impression was that she felt I did not fully appreciate the value and beauty, the sheer wonder of life and, if so, then nothing could be further from the truth. In my fairly long life, I have had the usual victories and disasters, triumphs and tragedies, good days and bad (vastly more good though) common to us all. I have marvelled, and continue to do so, at the brilliant red gold flash of the rising sun across the hills and tree tops, the majesty of a clear night sky seen from the middle of a wide, empty field, the magnificent aerial display of tens of thousands of migrating geese in their stately V,s sweeping overhead or the billowing, towering, white thunderhead clouds in the blue sky on a warm summers afternoon. I have witnessed amazing, unbelievable courage in both the young and the very old and been inspired by it. I have felt the deep anguish and sorrow of holding a close friend’s hand as he died and the unimaginable joy of hearing my child’s first cry. I have, and will continue to, cherish life and all that it holds for as long as my mortal brain and body will allow. It is beyond question that life, including all its ups and downs, including the inevitable slow decline at the close, is worth living.

But that is not the question. 

The question was, and remains, that at the end, when the body is shutting down and the mind is close behind, why should we not have the right to have our life end when we so choose?