Nic and Trees Elderhorst have been married for 65 years and they truly embody what a marriage is all about. The elderly couple has embraced the notion of ‘till death do us part.’ Nic and Trees are both 91 years old and they reside in the town of Didam in the Netherlands. However, over the recent years, the pair along with their family have been struggling with their declining health.
According to their family, they have always wanted to live life together.
And it seems like, after 65 years together, their love is still going strong.
In an interview with The Gelderlander, one of the couples’ daughters said: ‘the geriatrician determined that our mother was still mentally competent.’
‘However, if our father were to die, she could become completely disoriented, ending up in a nursing home, something which she desperately did not want. Dying together was their deepest wish.’
It was only in 2002 when the Netherlands became the first country ever to legalize doctor assisted suicide either through a fatal injection or a lethal dose of prescription drugs.
However, there are some stipulations to this new law. The person needs to be ‘suffering unbearably’ with no hope of relief in order to qualify for euthanasia.
There were controversies surrounding this particular case since apparently, a broken heart was enough to justify a joint euthanasia.
A report found that nearly 5 per cent of all deaths in the Netherlands involve euthanasia. Wesley J. Smith who is an advocate against assisted suicide had this to say.
‘Before you know it, the children of elderly parents attend and celebrate their joint euthanasia killings—instead of urging them to remain alive and assuring them that they will be loved and cared for, come what may.’
But in 2012, a stroke severely limited Mr. Elderhorst’s ability to move around and in that same year, it became obvious that Mrs. Elderhorst’s memory was fading.
The Elderhorst family was all present during their final send-off. They maintain that they made the right choice for their parents.
One of their daughters said: ‘they gave each other a big kiss and passed away confidently holding hands. According to their own wish.’
Advocates for euthanasia say that ‘dual requests are rarely granted’ and that it was just a coincidence that ‘both people [met] the demands for euthanasia at the same time.’
Bioethicist Scott Kim argues that the Elderhorst example is a great segway for a larger and more in-depth discussion. ‘These are old people who may have health problems, but none of them are life-threatening. They’re old, they can’t get around, their friends are dead and their children don’t visit anymore. This kind of trend cries out for a discussion. Do we think their lives are still worthwhile?’