Monday, February 8, 2016

On My Own by Diane Rehm

On My Own by Diane Rehm

In 2014 Diane Rehm lost her husband John; they had been married 54 years. Although John had Parkinson's Disease, that was not the cause of his death. John was so debilitated by PD that he chose to take his own life in the only way left to him, he starved himself to death. Since he did not live in a state which permits physicist assisted suicide, and because he could not move, the only means at his disposal to end his own suffering was to refuse food, water, and medicine. He did this for 10 days until he died. It was excruciating for Diane to watch him but she knew that he desired to end his deepening helplessness and suffering. 

This book was written during the first year of her widowhood but it goes back in time to their life together. At times it is tender with love and grief; at other times it is brutal with honesty and anger.  Diane is open about the ups and downs of their marriage and she openly questions herself in decisions regarding John's care at home, in the nursing facility, and in his means of ending his life. 

She has entered a new chapter in her life and is simply putting one foot in front of the other to keep walking through the deep emotional valley of grief and change.  She lives alone but has many friends.  The friendships give her emotional support but I think her greatest support is her own ability to look at her changing life with realism. She plans to retire from her daily radio show at the end of 2016. She has plans to work with Compassion and Choices, an organization that works toward allowing those who are dying more choices in ending their suffering. And there are other projects that are in the works.  Diane has had a remarkable life and intends to continue that life as long as health and interest allow. I am looking forward to seeing what will come next from this remarkable woman. 


Hattie said...

So many friends have lost spouses lately or are in the process of losing them that I don't think I could read that book right now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. Because I live in the DC area, I had access to her broadcasts. The Post ran a lengthy piece on her esperience in losing her spouse.Sad.

Rambling Woods said...

I will check that out