Diane Rehm Documentary “When My Time Comes” Out in April
Iconic radio host and Compassion & Choices ally Diane Rehm’s film offers a coast-to-coast, full-spectrum perspective on medical aid in dying.
by Tom Quash
March 24, 2021
When My Time Comes, a collection of compelling interviews, chronicles award-winning journalist Diane Rehm’s gripping conversations with legislators, advocates, clinicians, the clergy, terminally ill patients and critics of medical aid in dying. The documentary also features commentary and public testimony from the Compassion & Choices community, including President Emerita/Senior Adviser Barbara Coombs Lee, National Medical Director Dr. David Grube, and President and CEO Kim Callinan.
Directed by documentary filmmaker and Compassion & Choices Virginia Action Team Leader Joe Fab, the film introduces viewers to Diane’s own story of her husband John’s Parkinson’s disease and decision to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED) in 2014 to end his debilitating suffering. What followed was Diane’s direct involvement in the end-of-life care movement and, specifically, the pursuit to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation not only in her neighboring state of Maryland (she lives in Washington, D.C.), but in several other jurisdictions across the country.
Rehm asked everyone she interviewed — approximately 50 people — what they think would be a good death. “And the surprise for me,” she says, “was that whether you were on one side or the other side, everybody, every single person, wanted the same thing: They wanted to die at home, peacefully, with friends and relatives by their side. I thought that was fascinating. It’s certainly what I want for myself.”
Fab explains, “People want to be understood and heard. I think that’s a great benefit for documentarians and I think all interviewers. And on this subject, they absolutely have things to say, either pro or con. I want people to see this film, and I don’t want them to ever stop talking about it.”
“What a joy it was for me to work on this film because it so helped me work through so many issues of my own, to really come face to face with them through the eyes of other people, listening carefully to their objections, what they wanted and their experiences. I learned so much.”
When My Time Comes will be released on PBS stations nationwide in April. Check your local listings for details.