The end of life

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

July 1, 2013 2:04:56 PM PDT
The older we get the faster it goes. It's an old saw, but sheesh! Half of 2013 is over! Already!

Time flies, life is short. Which brings us to what's happening in South Africa to one of the most important and significant figures of the 20th Century - Nelson Mandela. It is, of course, up to every person and every family how they want the end of their life/lives to play out - if we indeed have that choice.

But for many people who are thinking about end-of-life issues, and that includes me and the folks at ABC News working on The Conversation Project, the Mandela situation raises all kinds of questions about how long one wants their life to continue, strapped to machines and tubes and existing in a hospital.

Again, it's up to each person to make their own decision, but The Conversation Project has as its goal encouraging people to have the conversation with their loved ones before the time comes. So what would you want? Would you want end-of-life heroics to keep you alive artificially?

I am thinking much about this project as we watch the end of Nelson Mandela's life unfold. Is this what he wanted? To be in a hospital, in critical condition for weeks, while the world watches and waits? I don't know the man - but I know about him - and it's hard for me to imagine this man of remarkable dignity wanting this rather undignified end to his life. I'm just sayin'.

We'll have the latest on the health of Nelson Mandela, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, are we living in a Monsoon area or what? Another lousy summer day of clouds and lots of rain ? rain that's bringing downed trees and flash flooding. What a mess. And what kind of summer is this ? and what kind of summer will this be? There are some who mock me for wondering and worrying, but I do wonder. And I do worry. Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is tracking the storm - and how long it's going to hang around this week.

We're also in Poughkeepsie with what might be a murder mystery. I say might because the circumstantial signs don't point to a mystery at all. Human remains found behind a wall in the basement of a home that belonged to a married couple. The man was 82 when he died last December. His wife had been missing since 1985. Is she missing no more? And if that's indeed her remains behind the wall, then how did they get there ? and without the husband knowing about?

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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