27 April 2022, The Tablet

Dying with Dignitas

Dying with Dignitas

Amy Bloom
Photo: Alamy/Süddeutsche Zeitung Photo, Anna Weise


A thriller-sharp account of giving death the green light

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss
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What does a good death look like? History offers us martyrdom, heroic self-sacrifice, deathbed conversion. The Who’s generation wanted to die before they got old. Roger McGough wrote a prayer called “Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death”, but recently contradicted it with “Not For Me a Youngman’s Death”. As it turns out, The Who’s generation is probably the longest-lived in history. And so they will have to find a way to deal with the failings and weaknesses that come with the blessing of longevity.

Amy Bloom’s memoir of her husband Brian’s death takes you past many landmarks which you’ll know if you’ve walked this road. There’s a rollicking account of her attempts to find a good home for the 360lb shark – now stuffed and missing several teeth – which Brian caught while at Yale. If you’ve ever lost someone, you’ll recognise the cocktail of guilt and irritation that floods you when it’s time to get rid of their stuff. And if you’ve ever waited at a deathbed, you’ll know that Gethsemane of fear and ­boredom Amy goes through as she see-saws between wishing Brian would live forever, and wishing he would die right now.


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