Dear Anonymous Man,
After reading your letter, it is very upsetting to hear how unhappy you are. It makes me think of all the other elders that are in the same position as you. I completely understand where you’re coming from, but you have to stay strong. Life is a beautiful thing, no matter what age you are. The way you have to look at it is that getting old is a privilege that many others don’t get the chance to have. Too many people’s lives get cut short and getting old is sort of a blessing. Even though you may feel lonely, you said that you have the option to go live with your children. Even though you’ve lived in the same place for many years, moving closer to your children and grandchildren would be a new adventure. You’ll get to spend more time with them during your final years, and I think you would be very grateful for that in the end. You said that you have cancer but you also said that it is treatable. I think it is worth it to spend the money for treatments. That money spent can give you an extra couple of years to spend time with your family. You also mention that you lost your wife. I know you miss her so much but you will be reunited with her eventually. Don’t rush to end your life.
I believe under certain circumstances such as having a terminal illness and being in pain that can’t be cured, then ending your life can be justified. I think that if someone who is perfectly healthy commits suicide, its selfish in a way. Their loved ones would be devastated and feel as if they were just left behind. Another reason why it can be considered selfish is because other people are fighting so hard to stay alive. On the other hand, if someone is really unhappy and miserable, and they feel like they have no reason to live, what is there to keep them from committing suicide? This subject is really complicated and there are so many different views. If someone is depressed, they should try everything they can do to get better before thinking about ending their lives. It is definitely more understandable for elders to want to end their lives, rather than younger people. Young people still have so many things to experience, while elders have already had many many years to experience things. I think that the only people who have the right to give assistance in dying are immediate family members, and only if the person who wants assistance dying is already terminally ill and wants to end their pain.
I don’t think Kant would believe suicide was morally right. I think that the categorical imperative would be to not commit suicide or get assisted suicide unless you are already dying and are in pain with no cure. If the categorical imperative was that suicide was ok, everyone would be able to do it whether they were old or young, sick or poor. Even though people still do it, it is not considered a normal act.