When Dave Courtney, a man who used to be in a gang but later wrote books, was found dead at his London home, it wasn’t a surprise to his friends. Courtney, who inspired a character in a movie, had been thinking about leaving for a while. His friends wish he could have had a different ending, and now people are talking about changing the rules for when someone is very sick.
Background: A Hard Life
Dave Courtney, at 64 years old, had a tough time with sickness. He had a kind of arthritis that hurt a lot, and also had cancer and problems with his heart. Even though he seemed tough, he was in a lot of pain. He used to have weapons in his house, but that didn’t stop him from finding a gun that worked to end his own life.
Wishing for Another Option: Talking About Help to End Pain
Courtney’s wife, Jennifer Pinto, and his friends hope there could have been another way. Pinto said he “couldn’t take the pain” and, because he was who he was, had a plan to make a choice. They wish that there could be a kinder way for people who are very sick to decide how things end, without it being violent.
Personal Struggle: Talking About Feeling Frustrated
Brendan McGirr, a friend who lived with Courtney, found him dead in July. From July, Courtney was making videos saying goodbye to his family. McGirr shared that Courtney talked openly about wanting the pain to stop, as his medicine wasn’t working, and he hurt a lot every day.
More than Pain: Talking About Feeling Upset
Courtney’s health problems were not just about pain. Earlier treatment for cancer made him unable to have sex, and his heart trouble meant he couldn’t use medicine for it. He was upset that he couldn’t enjoy something fun he had made in his garden. McGirr told how Courtney said, “I can’t fight, and I can’t have sex. I’m bored, and I’m in pain every day.”
Looking at the Law: Talking About Changing Rules
McGirr wants people to talk about changing the law so that someone like Courtney could choose a different way. He thinks Courtney would have chosen that option if it was allowed. However, the rules people talk about changing usually only let someone decide this if they are going to die very soon.
Finding Humor: Talking About Jokes in Hard Times
Even with all the hard things, Courtney and his friends shared some jokes. They even made jokes about picking a day to leave, trying to make things a little less heavy. In the end, a good thing happened: Courtney’s favorite sports team won 4-0 the day before he left.
Looking Back: Talking About a Tough Choice
Dave Courtney’s leaving has started people talking about a choice that is very hard to make, especially when someone is very sick but not going to die right away. His friends and family hope that, when we think about what happened to him, we can talk together about changing the rules so that others in a lot of pain can decide things in a kinder way.