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Good Morning Midnight

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Good Morning Midnight

Postby Dow Williams » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:18 pm

by Chip Brown.

We just had one of local talents (Canadian Rockies) decide to venture on down the highway the same way Guy Waterman did for realtive reasons. He parked below one of our well known landmarks, Castle Mountain, and directed his wheel chair into the creek at about waste deep. Hypothermia/drowning took care of the rest.

Guy's case was quite controversial at the time, but I appreciated him taking the effort to document his planned activity, to bring to light something I strongly believe in, the right to die, no matter the circumstances, without it being considered a bad word or choice by those left behind (the negative connotations associated with the word suicide). In any regard if you have not read "Good Morning Midnight", I highly recommend it. A deep and well written account of Guy's and Laura's life as well as Guy's death.
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Postby Augie Medina » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:38 am

Agree, it was a very moving work.
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Postby MarthaP » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:28 am

A Fine Kind of Madness is also a great read.

I'm with you, Dow - when I'm no longer capable of living the life I choose I'll buy a one-way ticket up a snow-covered peak, sans regrets, and never look back. It's not only a right, but an honor to be able to make that choice.

I'm currently in a heated debate with a gal whose friend took his life earlier this year. He was clearly in some sort of pain no one wanted to recognize. Everyone's angry because he left a wife who's "never worked a day in her life."

Maybe there's a lesson in that for the wife somewhere...but they're all too busy getting their hate on for a dead guy. Truly sad.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:38 am

Wow. Sounds like he knew what he was doing, and the undiscovered country held peace, not fear.

I feel far less remorse when someone in the twilight years makes a well-considered choice, than when a young person makes a momentary irreversible decision. I still sting from a cousin who blew his brains out at 26. If he needed money for the mortgage, why didn't he ask for help? I guess there is always a lot more going on than we realize.
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Postby Dow Williams » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:17 pm

MarthaP wrote:A Fine Kind of Madness is also a great read.

I'm with you, Dow - when I'm no longer capable of living the life I choose I'll buy a one-way ticket up a snow-covered peak, sans regrets, and never look back. It's not only a right, but an honor to be able to make that choice.

I'm currently in a heated debate with a gal whose friend took his life earlier this year. He was clearly in some sort of pain no one wanted to recognize. Everyone's angry because he left a wife who's "never worked a day in her life."

Maybe there's a lesson in that for the wife somewhere...but they're all too busy getting their hate on for a dead guy. Truly sad.


Thanks for sharing Martha. I own both books and read them so long ago, I cannot remember which one I liked the most or was the most inspiring for me??? Guess I know what I am reading when I get home. Cheers
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Postby cp0915 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:27 pm

I was moved by the Guy Waterman story too. And although of a different vein, the Johnny Waterman story was pretty intense as well.
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Postby MarthaP » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:04 pm

I'm resurrecting this thread for two reasons: I'm reading Good Morning, Midnight right now, and the right-to-die conversation continues to come to light. Today in the NY Times (http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/the-way-we-die-now/) the debate continues. Most importantly are some of the most compelling comments made by readers I've ever encountered.

As Chip Brown points out and which continues to empower my beliefs, it's not suicide, it's self-fulfillment. And for those who see death an equal part of life, who's to be afraid?
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Postby Dow Williams » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:14 pm

MarthaP wrote:I'm resurrecting this thread for two reasons: I'm reading Good Morning, Midnight right now, and the right-to-die conversation continues to come to light. Today in the NY Times (http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/the-way-we-die-now/) the debate continues. Most importantly are some of the most compelling comments made by readers I've ever encountered.

As Chip Brown points out and which continues to empower my beliefs, it's not suicide, it's self-fulfillment. And for those who see death an equal part of life, who's to be afraid?


Well said Martha.
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Postby BeDrinkable » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:43 pm

This is a topic that I also have strong feelings about, but complicated and contradictory ones. Sometimes it can be easy to make blanket statements about our right to do as we choose with our life (and I do generally support that view) but it is easy to overlook our responsibilites to those around us. We do live in a society and our actions affect others, sometimes with unanticipated ripples.

A very close friend of mine chose to end his own life several years ago. He had a young daughter and her life was thrown into turmoil for quite some time. He was in pain, that much I cannot argue with. But he decided not to seek help. His choice? Of course. Did it end his own pain? Absolutely. But does that offset the pain caused ...

FWIW, I have read Good Morning Midnight, so not completely off-topic here.
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Postby blazin » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:26 pm

Though both topics involve death, there's a profound difference between taking one's life because of (real or imagined) hardships when one could reasonably expect to otherwise live for a significant period of time (i.e., suicide) and choosing the terms and time of one's passing when already faced with death (for medical reasons).

I have come to believe that we (as a society or even civilization, if you like such grand terms) have forgotten how to die. Egan's piece in the NYT implicitly argues against the tremendous value assigned to prolonging our lives--regardless of pain, discomfort, cost and indignity. I have tremendous respect for the person that can face their own mortality, and embrace it.

But the flip side of that is knowing how, and when, to live. Suicide--for exactly the reasons laid out by BeDrinkable--is not a knowing and dignified acceptance of the inevitable. It's one thing if the decay and failure of your own body is hampering your own life, it's another if it's external or psychological factors. The former you can do nothing about, the latter you should have the courage and strength to face, rather than seeking the ultimate escape. (That being said, I'm rather torn by the case of life-laterning or debilitating, but non-fatal, injuries--such as amputations or paralysis. I've often said I'd rather die in the mountain than come back a quadriplegic, but is it legitimate to decide to take your own life because of a crippling injury?)
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Postby MarthaP » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:56 pm

I absolutely concur the complications and contradictions that taking one's life might incur. To a degree, blazin, I empathize with your delineations regarding what's suicide and what's not. However
blazin wrote:the latter should have the courage and strength to face it

is a typical response to those who have never lived with or faced deep depression.

For them, it takes more courage to die than to live. It's like being stuck in a bottomless pit with absolutely no way out. It's impossible to change negative thought into positive, into a will to care or a will to even try. So to suggest strength and courage ought to be an automatic response is indicative of the inability of people to fully understand the ramifications of chronic/clinical depression, to want to learn about it, or to even want to talk about it - it's too embarrassing. Because it's intangible it doesn't really exist. Ignore it and it'll go away. Pull up your bootstraps and move on.

It just doesn't happen that way.
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Postby blazin » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:43 pm

MarthaP wrote:is a typical response to those who have never lived with or faced deep depression.


This is hardly the right forum to discuss this at depth, but I do know both depression and suicide rather intimately. Much more intimately than I would like. And while I agree that telling someone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps does no good, I similarly believe that just telling them to pop some pills does no good either. Ultimately, crawling out of that dark hole is an act of will. It requires the help, care and guidance of others, to be sure, but if you don't have the desire to regain your own life, no one can do it for you. I realize my comment about "strength" might have been too facile or flippant, but it was most certainly not a result of ignorance.
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Postby MarthaP » Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:07 am

Greatly appreciated. It's a hard topic to say the least. But I wonder why this forum would be any more difficult or inappropriate than any other? I'd say mountaineers have an especial grasp on the reality of death. How we get there is another story.
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Re: Good Morning Midnight

Postby Marmaduke » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:35 pm

The book was excellent. But regardless of ones position on the right to die, this family had some issues. Guy's relationship with his boys wasn't very good and the book made it seem as if Guy Waterman was a very selfish person. He decides to take his life at a young age and in good health. Then the story behind his two sons living in Alaska, one being a very accomplished climber as well, and their troubles. Well, sadly this family had some real problems that were never worked out. Just my opinion.
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