In the Face of Death
When death comes close, we try to bring rhyme and reason to it – or, worse, we distance it by focusing instead on complex medical possibilities, hospitalization, predictable patterns by which we turn dying friends into mere patients. When Peter Noll learned he had cancer, there was no rhyme or readon to it: he was young, active, and doing important work in criminal law in Zurich’s counts and university. The son of a pastor, and a man who had devotad much thought to questions about freedom and responsibility and to the conflict between hope and reality, he decided to refuse treatment for the rapidly advancing cancer, feeling that it would only deprive him, by slow degrees, of his liberty and integrity, forcing upon his friends and family the burden of making choices for him. He faced death on his own.