Date: August 02, 2021
“John Rehm’s death changed Diane Rehm’s life.
Ten years after John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he couldn’t stand, walk, eat or go to the toilet by himself. Outraged because the law forbade his doctor to help hasten his death, he resolved to stop eating and drinking.
Diane, the celebrated NPR talk show host and John’s wife of 54 years, kept vigil for the next 10 days. Just after 2 a.m. on June 23, 2014 — a few hours before John died — she took out her iPad and typed the first sentences of a passionate argument for medical aid in dying.
“In most of America, lawmakers and the church are deciding this issue for other people,” she says. “People they’ve never met. People whose suffering they have no way of understanding.”
In 2016, Diane retired from “The Diane Rehm Show,” which had run for more than 30 years on NPR station WAMU. Since then, she has championed what she and other advocates call “death with dignity.” On Wednesday, PBS will broadcast her new documentary, “When My Time Comes.”
The one-hour program and a similarly titled book published last year describe the death of her husband, a former lawyer for the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and the perspectives of politicians, doctors and patients about the movement that has led to new laws in nine states and the District.
Diane remarried in 2017, at age 81, to retired Lutheran minister and therapist John Hagedorn. Since retiring from “The Diane Rehm Show,” she has been producing a twice-weekly podcast and a monthly book club for WAMU. She spoke to The Washington Post in an hour-long telephone conversation that has been edited for length and clarity.”
“WHEN MY TIME COMES chronicles the investigation of NPR’s Diane Rehm into the right-to-die movement in America.
Spurred on by the death of her husband, the Peabody-award-winning journalist crosses the country to take an in-depth look at medical aid in dying. She speaks to people on all sides of the issue, uncovering the pros and cons, the facts and the misinformation surrounding this controversial practice that is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. The result is both moving and informative – an eye-opening documentary that is sure to provoke strong reactions and thoughtful conversations among viewers of all ages and backgrounds.”