The story and life of Dr Daivd Goodall have now been well-known in Australia and even, across the world. By filming and retelling David’s decision to go with the assisted-voluntary euthanasia, one of the ABC’s flagship programs, Foreign Correspondent, has brought us into a relatively unexplored but hardly unfamiliar territory of life – death. To be precise, it was a journey, David’s journey to death.
However everything was all done on his own terms, a phrase that has emerged throughout the documentary. The popular imagination about Death, which has a personified figure that wears a long black rob and holds a scythe, has been dark, horrified and cold; especially with the very process when Death is walking slowly towards us, grabbing our arm and turned us from all our loved ones, further and further away. Death has always been presented as emotionless.
That was not the Death who took David away; he and his journey had not only personified Death but personalised the experience of this part of life.
David’s journey to death started in Perth, Australia, then moved to the world-renowned French wine-region, Bordeaux, and finally arrived Basel, Switzerland, where he laid to rest forever. His journey to death was filled with sunshine, peaceful country landscapes and also a sense of celebration, which was evident by the many nice foods, French wine and music (David’s own singing, indeed).
Yet, it is this idea that death (or advanced planned death) can be ‘a gift’ to the family worked as the ultimate building block of this story. Death is merely a natural process, said David, being to do it on our own terms can bring out the much needed dignity, respect and love, which he found the process of aging had taken away from him, gradually but painfully. So, there he was, making that appointment with Death at a time, a place, with the conditions as he wished.
On His on Terms is available on the ABC iView