Remembering my late wife Anne Holliday for Chris Johnson’s book A Better Life

by Michael Nugent on March 19, 2013

I did an interview and photoshoot today with Chris Johnson for his upcoming book A Better Life. Chris has posted this clip on YouTube of me talking about my late wife Anne Holliday, who I loved and who I miss every day.

Chris is a New York-based photographer, and he has been traveling through the United States, Canada, and Europe putting together a book of photographic portraits of atheists.

The goal of the book A Better Life is to visually capture the diversity of non-believers and the ways they maintain a better life, not in spite of their atheism, but because of it.

It’s a great project, and well worth supporting.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tina March 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’m sorry Michael. I didn’t know. My condolences to you. I’ve lost many friends and family to that horror..most recently a brother in law to pancreatic cancer. It was a nightmare.

2 Gurdur March 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Not much I can say. My warmest commiserations, condolences; may her memory live on a long time.

3 Michael Nugent March 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thank you, Tina and Gurdur.

It was and still is a difficult time, but we had twenty five great years together, which is more than many people are fortunate enough to have.

I appreciate your kind thoughts.

4 kntk March 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Sorry Michael. If you don’t mind my asking, and it isn’t too painful, what were the provisions Anne took that gave her that peace of mind?

5 Michael Nugent March 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

kntk, we had researched the best ways for a person to painlessly and reliably take their own life without traveling abroad (for example to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal).

There were only two ways that we were comfortable with. One involves a liquid, and the other involves a gas. It’s really important not to do something that is either painful or leaves you alive but in a coma.

It’s not as morbid as it seems. When you are facing a terminal illness, and you have come to terms with that reality, then it is a positive development, not a negative one, to be able to know that you can control whatever decisions that you are able to control.

I’ve written in more detail about Anne’s thoughts on this here:

My tribute to my late wife Anne Holliday

Exit International, which advises people on choices in dying, has an Irish branch. There has been a recent Supreme Court case in Ireland about the right to assisted suicide. We are awaiting the verdict. And I am involved in a new lobby group, Right to Die Ireland, to campaign for legislative change on the issue.

6 kntk March 20, 2013 at 12:45 am

It’s not as morbid as it seems. When you are facing a terminal illness, and you have come to terms with that reality, then it is a positive development, not a negative one, to be able to know that you can control whatever decisions that you are able to control.

Of course. I imagine that lifted a huge burden, and it sounds like you both had a wonderful time with your remaining months.

Thanks for sharing that and good luck on the verdict.

7 Russell Blackford March 20, 2013 at 4:31 am

Thank you for making this video available, Michael. I didn’t know about this, so my deepest condolences. You also have my full support in your campaign, that you mentioend above, for the right to die. All best wishes.

8 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm

My condolences and sympathy as well Michael. This is a touchy subject, and my drummer’s step-father debated Terry Pratcheet about the right to die. I will try and get a handy video if there’s one available.

For the record, I’m on the “right to die” side.

And here’s the link, Kevin O’Sullivan is the step-father.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaLO6iSidyE

Very bad audio, sorry about that.

9 Gurdur March 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Michael Nugent, may I also recommend the videos of Terry Pratchett on assisted suicide? He himself is facing a ghastly and early end from a rare version of Alzheimer’s, and ironically it affects his occipital lobes before the rest of the brain, meaning he loses the ability to read and write before the rest of the usual Alzheimer’s symptoms. In that, he faces a tripled death, since he faces death as a writer before death of the mind in general, and then death of the body. He discusses assisted suicide calmly, comprehensively and bravely.

Once again, my warmest commiserations on the death of Anne. To lose a deeply loved one is worse in many ways than to lose one’s own life.

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