A Most Dignified Death

Jonathan & Gillian Bennett in 2014

Jonathan & Gillian Bennett in 2014

We will all die one day. Sorry, but that’s a fact. The only issue is exactly how we will die. In pain? Alone? Quickly? Slowly?

Gillian Bennett knew exactly how and when she would die. She lived on Bowen Island with her husband Jonathan. Her two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren all live in Greater Vancouver and were close enough to visit.

Gillian was diagnosed with dementia, a progressive loss of memory and judgment, three years ago. Since then she has been planning her end with dignity, love for her family and friends and a clear-minded understanding of how she would eventually die. Dementia offers a slow painful death, not so much for the victim but for those left to witness it’s path of destruction. She didn’t appear to be interested in following the disease to it’s conclusion.

Her thought and feelings were published after her suicide on deadatnoon.com and the details of her death were detailed by Vancouver Sun reporter Denise Ryan. Here’s the first two paragraphs of her story:

On Monday morning shortly before noon, Gillian Bennett dragged a foam mattress from her home on Bowen Island to one of her favourite spots on the grass, facing a craggy rock cliff, the place she had chosen to die.

Bennett, who was 85 and in the early stages of dementia, chose to take her own life with a draught of good whiskey, a dose of Nembutal mixed with water and her husband of 60 years by her side.

The notes on deadatnoon.com give some insight into this wonderful woman. Do yourself a favour and read her thoughts on life and death, dying with dignity and leaving life behind. A lovely explanation of why we should all have the right to take our own lives if living is no longer fulfilling.

I love the fact that Gillian washed her suicide medication down with good whiskey. I would have liked Ms. Bennett.

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