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Love Story

Sir Edward Downes, one of Britain’s most distinguished orchestra conductors, flew to Switzerland last week with his terminally-ill wife and joined her in drinking a lethal cocktail of barbiturates provided by an assisted-suicide clinic.  He was not ill.

I wish I had that kind of courage.


Comment from zeno
Time: July 15, 2009, 10:21 am

Thanks Jerry.

I can’t imagine, no matter how loving the two adult children, the complex feelings that Mr Downes — a musician — and Lady Downes experienced, with the older Sir Edward growing “almost blind and increasingly deaf” and having a spouse of 54 years suffering from terminal cancer.

“ yielded, and unlocked her all my heart”

“God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts”

Comment from Polly Moller
Time: July 15, 2009, 2:43 pm

I cannot imagine what Sir Edward and Lady Downes were going through. It must have been tremendously difficult to drive them to take this action.

However, I must point out, as a survivor of suicide (my partner took his own life a year and a half ago), that the damage done to their loved ones left behind is devastating, and cannot be ignored.

Comment from Paula
Time: July 15, 2009, 7:25 pm

Let’s just hope the British Government– who has taken a fairly lax stance on the relatives of citizens who accompany family members to Switzerland for assisted suicide–continue to maintain the same policy here – despite the high profile nature of this case. Had it been the U.S….

Comment from lawrencedillon
Time: July 15, 2009, 9:17 pm

A very beautiful and heartbreaking story.

Comment from David Salvage
Time: July 16, 2009, 5:29 am

I´m so stupid.

I was trying to think up an encouraging comment for Jerry in these trying times. Totally, totally missed the mark. Ugh. Very sorry for being so careless.

Jerry, I look forward to many more lattes. Cheers.

Comment from Jerry Bowles
Time: July 16, 2009, 5:48 pm

Not to worry, David. I understood what you meant.

Comment from Tom Myron
Time: July 25, 2009, 1:53 am

A very stupid & self-centered act. How you do this to your kids, no matter their ages, is beyond me.

And, like our colleague Polly, I’m coming from experience here too.

Comment from zeno
Time: July 27, 2009, 9:49 am

In this case, the adult children accompanied their parents to Switzerland. (This is now subject to police investigation, as I imagine it should be.)