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.

8 thoughts on “Love Story”
  1. In this case, the adult children accompanied their parents to Switzerland. (This is now subject to police investigation, as I imagine it should be.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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….

  5. 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.

  6. 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”

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