When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
First there was the cancer diary. Nigella Lawson’s husband John Diamond wrote one, you remember. Since the advent of the self-published blog countless people have died out loud.
Next, boomers started writing about the slow and distressing decline of their parents. You’ll find an example here.
Now those boomers are old enough to write about their own dissolution and are doing so to debunk the myth that too-long life is an unmitigated good thing. In last week’s Spectator magazine Stewart Dakers (77), reflecting that the reaper has changed from terminator to tormentor, dwelt on the horrors of longevity with both dread and splendid prose. Here are just a few extracts:
The existential reality of decline is aggravated by the prospect of total physical and cognitive disintegration, the details of which are well known to us, so we live in physical discomfort and mental terror. Old age has graduated into a form of pre-traumatic stress disorder.
We are a waste of space on a seriously overcrowded planet. We are in the way and those who are most impeded are the young. We can see this and are, of course, ashamed of ourselves.
My advice to young people is simple. Eat, drink, even smoke, and be generally merry, because that way you might be spared too many days of misery for yourself and your friends and family. Live short and prosper.
Old-age rational suicide will be with us any day now, just you see.