Yesterday’s New York Times featured a beautiful piece titled “The Wisdom of the Aged,” where six elderly New Yorkers were followed and profiled over the course of a full year. The article captures their hopes, their struggles, and their daily routines as they live out their lives in their eighties and nineties—and while each of these individuals had different circumstances and challenges, there is an undeniable joy and wisdom that is contained in their stories.

One woman spoke of a new romantic relationship she was considering, another spoke of health complications, while another spoke of her love for plants. But what’s abundantly clear is that these individuals had no desire to give up living. They still very much wanted to be—and were—alive.

It’s difficult to reconcile this thoughtful journalistic expose on the wisdom of the elderly knowing that the same newspaper’s editorial board endorses physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. One story affirms the value of life, while another aims to give individuals and physicians the power to prematurely end it.

At the CBC, we often remark that we operate in a story war. As our work in the area of reproductive technology evidences, we aim to tell the “other” stories—the ones of women and children that have been harmed by egg or sperm donation or surrogacy. So while there may be some irony and contradiction that the same paper that is advocating for physician assisted suicide is offering stories of hope even at the end of life, we’re still glad these stories are being told. And we’ll continue to do our part to offer more of the same.

Image by thearches via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Author Profile

Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director