I cannot get my head around this photograph:
I believe that what Jeffrey Spector was about to do, in this photo – in 16 hours he was going to take his own life in the Dignitas Clinic – I believe that that was a matter for him and his family but I don’t know how they are smiling, positively beaming! I know they’ll have been trying to keep smiles on their faces for Jeffrey but how they managed it, I do not know. That scene is surreal.
As for Jeffrey, I imagine that the peace he was feeling was rooted in his ‘excitement’ about having what he saw as a dreadful future removed. However, that surely didn’t anaesthetise him emotionally in the company of his loved ones. He knew that his death was going to devastate his loved ones and that, in this world, he was never going to see them again. He must have been in such an appalling, agonising ‘place’ mentally. When I think of death, I think of leaving my loved ones. It appears that Jeffrey had a loving family so the thought of leaving them must have been utterly, utterly heartbreaking. It speaks volumes about the desperate mental state in which he must have been confined that he was able to see beyond that heartbreak to take his own life.
An aside, I wonder why it costs about £7,000 to end one’s life at Dignitas. I have an issue with suicide on religious grounds but I do believe that it’s a private matter, that no one should have the right to tell someone like Jeffrey Spector that he cannot take his own life (though I do believe that the State must play a role in the sense of ensuring that the decision to end one’s life is made when lucid and without coercion). It certainly should not be a privilege to end one’s own life – if one wants to end one’s life as Jeffrey Spector wanted to and did, he/she should not be denied that right simply because of a lack of money!
How sad it is that Jeffrey Spector had to travel to Switzerland to end his life when he would surely have preferred to have done it in his own home. Moreover, the fact that he had to travel will have meant that he’ll have probably taken his life earlier than if he had been able to do it in his own home. If he had been able to do it at home, I assume that he’d have waited longer. As he had to travel, he’ll have had to ‘prematurely’ say “now is the time” so that he had the energy and capability to make the journey. At a time when Jeffrey needed peace, calm and serenity, he was ‘forced’ to cope with airports and all the aggravation that goes with air travel. I guess that, once there, Jeffrey and his loved ones could have booked into a hotel and stuck around for a few months before the suicide but that would have been impractical on many levels.
Tragic, devastating and very, very complex. RIP Jeffrey Spector…