A 55-year-old woman from Turin died in October at a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. Her husband, who had tried to prevent her death, only learned of his wife’s death when the urn containing her ashes was delivered to her home. This is what the Italian newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ writes.
Marta became depressed after the death of her son in January 2023 and was treated by a psychiatrist. In the summer of last year she could no longer cope with life and – without her husband’s knowledge – she contacted a euthanasia clinic in Basel. In Switzerland it is also possible for foreigners to end your life legally and relatively easily in a clinic under medical supervision.
Husband Alberto lives temporarily in Canada for his work. When he discovered what his wife was up to, he immediately traveled with her sister to the clinic in Basel. The two tried to talk Marta down, although the loss of her son was clearly difficult for her. “My wife said she couldn’t live without her son,” says the widower. “The love she felt for me was great. But unfortunately not big enough to bear the pain.”
No response to emails and phone calls
What makes the blow extra heavy: Alberto thought in the weeks before her death that she was starting to do reasonably well. “We spoke on the phone every other day and she sounded positive. She was very busy with her work, I saw that as a positive signal.”
Marta’s colleagues indeed confirm that impression. Nevertheless, Marta decided to take the train to Basel alone at the beginning of October. She left her phone and computer behind in Turin.
Alberto didn’t hear from her for three days, but he wasn’t too worried yet. “She worked long hours at work.” A farewell email had ended up in his spam box because it was not sent from his wife’s usual email address.
Urn delivered to your home
And then suddenly that unreal moment: an urn containing his wife’s ashes was delivered to his door.
The widower is especially angry because he and other family members did not get the chance to say goodbye. “I didn’t even get to see her body before she was cremated. Relatives are completely excluded from the process, to what extent is that fair?” he asks.
Despite several attempts, the Swiss clinic does not want to speak to the relatives. The management does not respond to emails or telephone calls. “I could have lived with it if her choice had been well-considered. But I don’t have that certainty,” Alberto mourns.
“All procedures followed”
Silvio Viale is a councilor in Turin and is also part of the board of Luca Coscioni, a foundation committed to the legalization of euthanasia. “I am convinced that the clinic in Basel has followed all procedures,” it said. “The woman’s will to die with dignity was respected, as was her wish to keep her death secret from family members.”
A majority of Italians are in favor of assisted suicide. Euthanasia itself will remain prohibited for the time being. The Veneto region’s attempt to regulate the end of life by law failed two weeks ago in the regional parliament with one vote. As a result, many Italians still resort to Switzerland.
Anyone with questions about suicide can contact the Suicide Line on the toll-free number 1813 and on the website www.zelfbloed1813.be.
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