Toronto Star, Oct 21 2012: Reaching beneath a desk in her home office, Ruth von Fuchs pulls out a white plastic box containing a collection of tubes, valves and microwave turkey roasting bags. This is her death kit.
With the blasé patter of an airline attendant explaining the protocols of oxygen mask use, the 71-year-old retired librarian removes a microwave bag and pulls it over her head, her face shrouded beneath clear plastic, her features blurring, her graying bun compressed into a soft helmet.
Slowly, her fingers begin to pinch a seal around her neck using Velcro strips she attached at the open end of the bag.
Her voice muffled and faint, she points to the spot where a tube is to be inserted.
“I would probably use helium,” she declares, deadpan. “A few deep breaths and you fade off.”
Von Fuchs is death’s midwife.
On four occasions, she has held the hands of terminally ill Canadians as they lived out their final wish: to pre-emptively end their lives with someone, anyone, there to provide humanity as they breathe their last breaths. Keep reading