Diane Rehm was for so many years the lodestar for NPR listeners, our resource for inspiration and wisdom through her uncanny ability to designate and reach the most original and inventive minds of our time. She led us to authors, politicians, investigators of truth when we might well have missed them. Through conversation she revealed the minds and imaginations of those we praised but only dreamed of knowing. This accomplished by means of her own compassion and intellect.
In When My time Comes, Diane Rehm confronts one of the hardest questions our aging population faces : Whether those who are dying should have the right to determine when life should end. In her customary thoughtful and inquisitive manner, Rehm offers conversations with the dying, their loved ones, and with those who agree and those who disagree about the right to determine the time of ones own death when life loses viability and becomes all about suffering.
Throughout Rehm’s book her message is, in her words, “What is required is talk — real, honest-to-goodness talk, not only with family, but also with doctors, ministers, and friends.” This is a book about the right and one might even say, the obligation to oneself and one’s loved ones, to think about what you and your loved ones want when near life’s end. Again, in Rehm’s words, being “at ease in the belief that death is an integral part of life.”
When My Time Comes gives us what we have relied on Diane Rehm for all these many years, conversation about what matters most in life, and now, ultimately about death. We all need to learn how to listen and talk to each other, to communicate about our vitality and our vulnerabilities, in sickness and in health.