Sunday, March 12, 2006

Art Buchwald says no to dialysis

On "This Week with George Stephanopoulos:"
STEPHANOPOULOS: Our voice this week, Art Buchwald. The Pulitzer Prize winner is best known for his razor-sharp columns published in more than 300 newspapers. And now, Buchwald is scripting his final days. Refusing dialysis, the 80-year-old author has decided it's time to die. From a bed in his Washington hospice, he tells us why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUCHWALD: It was a tough decision, because you're affecting other people. You know, yourself, you're affecting your family. But I made it. I was relieved. It was over. The decision was made. The only part of it that I don't understand, and nobody else understands, is why I'm still here.

But, you know, it's a no-no. You're not supposed to talk about death. You're not to talk about where you're going. Yet everybody that's listening to this show knows they're going to go. And so it shouldn't be a secret. It shouldn't be banned. It should be a good thing. At least, you know, the way you go, I can't predict that. But you don't have to make it a terrible thing.

I'm having the best time of my life. Wouldn't you, to be sitting here, and everybody thinks you're a wonderful person? And you can't take it all, because first of all, you know, you start to feel like John Glenn. The big question that keeps coming up all the time with anybody -- an interviewer talks to me -- is: Do I believe in God?

The answer is: I believe in God, but I'm not too certain that the people that are telling me, 'It's God's will' are the ones I want to listen to. I've found a way that not a lot of people have to make other people laugh. And I'm proud. I hope I can be remembered for that. Because everybody wants to be remembered for something when they go...

4 Comments:

Blogger Bardiac said...

I admire not only his decision, but his willingness to speak publicly and explain it. Death's scary to most of us, but the way our culture hides it away makes it worse.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Very touching and poignant post. I admire his strength as well.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous mchebert said...

One of my favorite thinkers in psychology is Erik Erikson. I never heard of him untl medical school. I expecially admired his humanistic approach to human life, and his assertion that every stage of life, including the dying process, includes a pathway to happiness.

When I read this story I thought of Erikson and his concept of ego integrity, the idea that a person, at the end of a fulfilling life, can come to accept death with equanamity and good feeling.

I hope my end will be as noble and as happy as Mr. Buchwald's.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

That's how I want to be when it is my time to go! Pretty great guy, if you ask me..

11:45 PM  

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