The recent passage of Initiative 1000, the Washington Death with Dignity Act, legalized physician-assisted suicide in our state. While for many this issue is still hypothetical, some of us have had to face the legal, emotional, and ethical dilemmas presented when the end of a loved one's life is not simple or easy. When John West's father and mother, acclaimed psychiatrists and psychologists respectively, came to him with new of their impending deaths from cancer, he didn't anticipate they also would ask him for help with their dying—assistance he was legally prohibited from giving. The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides (Counterpoint) tells the story of a loving son's struggle to respect his parents' wishes to maintain their autonomy and dignity even as they faced pain, illness, and death. Formerly of Seattle, John West is now an attorney and writer based in Los Angeles. (KingRat)
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