SARASOTA, FLA. - It was standing room only Saturday morning in the Selby Library auditorium. The crowd gathered to listen to Faye Girsh talk about the Final Exit Network, an organization that promotes an individuals right to die on one’s own terms.
“Many people are ready at the end of their lives to say this is the end but I want to die peacefully, I want to go out with some dignity and I want to go out on my own terms,” explain Girsh.
They instruct people how to take their own lives step by step using everyday materials.
“We are in the business of working with people who feel like their lives are at an end or will be and all quality of life is gone or is going and they want to know about a peaceful way out.”
Nancy Kaplan is a member of the Final Exit Network. She brought her daughter with her on Saturday to help her daughter understand why she wants the freedom to choose death over suffering when the time comes.
“As you get older I feel more certain about it” said Nancy Kaplan.
Jill Kaplan supports her mom’s wishes but says emotionally it is difficult to think about.
“You get a little queasy but on the other hand I work with a lot of older people and I see what goes on and the suffering and the lack of dignity and quality in their lives and I understand it.”
John Butterfield believes in having the choice to end his life with dignity but says his daughters are not on board.
“They think I am going to live forever and they want to retire and have fun with me here in Sarasota,” said Butterfield with a laugh.
Girsh says the Final Exit Network is not for everyone but she says competent adults who do choose to end their lives should be able to make those decisions without interference from the law, medicine, clergy or even family.
According to the Final Exit Network’s guiding principals, they only provide people with information and counsel. They do not encourage anyone to take their own life, they do not provide the means to do so and they do not assist in any ones death.