Monday, December 1, 2008

Killing as a Joyful Duty, Part I

The Brits are providing more sympathetic pro-killing stories than many of us can keep up with.

Enter Valerie and Michael Grosvenor Myer, a pretty average couple, apparently.

A chance meeting 52 years ago soon lead to marriage. He became a teacher, and later devoted his energies to being a freelance theatre critic and a folk singer. She, linked to a prominent and wealthy family, engaged in literary pursuits. Valerie and Michael “shared a love of the theatre and literature, particularly Jane Austen and Shakespeare.”

Fast-forward to 1998: Valerie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Chronically degenerative, to be sure, but not a terminal illness.

Valerie’s health got worse, and she began talking of suicide three or four years ago. She tried several times, including a failed attempt in 2005 that left her comatose.

It was the 2005 episode that helped Valerie and Michael set the stage for her eventual death last year. In 2005, Michael, realizing Valerie was comatose, and not dead as planned, panicked and called for help. Here’s what Michael told London’s Telegraph last Saturday:

One of the paramedics said very meaningfully to me: 'It's as well you phoned us as soon as you could or you might have found yourself on a manslaughter charge'. So he obviously knew what the score was and was giving me a hint to be careful."

So now they knew. The next time Valerie decided to kill herself, Michael couldn’t be around because it’s illegal to aid and abet suicide in the UK.

Since 2005, their stiff British upper lips firmly in place, Valerie and Michael dispassionately talked about what needed to happen when she decided to do herself in.

One of their primary concerns was that Michael not be around when Valerie died.

He wasn’t.

Valerie took the fatal dose, shooed him out of the house as if he was late for work, and off Michael went. To the university library:

So, after a day's work at the library, I had dinner at the university centre. I was reading a very interesting article in The New Yorker about the British political situation. And I was thinking: 'I must tell Valerie about this'. Then I thought: 'You great booby. You will never tell her about anything ever again – if she has managed to do it properly this time.'

I’m not making this up.

Is it just me, or is this a macabre truth that trumps most people’s worst nightmares?

Ever fans of death, the Telegraph called it “poignant story.”

I had a different take: Coldblooded. Chilling. Empty.

Stay tuned for Part II. 


Terri said...

These stories are horrifying and heartbreaking.

Helen said...

There is another one in the news, now, about a mother who allegedly killed her daughter who, it seems, was gravely ill with ME.

I don't know much about ME, but it sounded as if her condition was a lot worse than that.

However, whether she would have chosen to die or not is a moot point.