My Brother is Choosing Assisted Suicide. What Should I Do?

As Catholics, we work to uphold the value of all life from conception to natural death. As part of that, we condemn practices like abortion and euthanasia that deliberately take the life of a human being. And it’s easy to oppose these practices in principle, but what happens when your own family is involved?

Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, a listener named Bob called in with a dilemma – feeling like he has to choose between his principles and his brother.

My twin brother lives in Oregon, he has cancer, and he has about a year to live. I’d like to be with him when he leaves this earth, and I’ve asked him if that’s OK, but he’s a non-believer and he’s choosing assisted suicide. My wife thinks I should not try to be with him, because that might make me some sort of facilitator. My gut is to be with my twin brother on his last day. What’s your opinion on this?

Patrick Madrid:
I can see why you feel that way, with your natural brotherly bond. And I also certainly understand your wife’s stance on this too, because unless it’s handled correctly, it could give him the impression that you are there giving your quiet approval to what’s going on.

I guess if I were you, I would do this, I would go. But then I would be that voice telling him every step of the way, ‘Don’t do this. You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to take this step. This is a serious sin. Have trust in God. Even though you’re going through the pain right now, God has a plan for your life.’

You’re probably going to tick off every person in that room, but do it anyway. Be Jesus in that death chamber, as they’re about to put your brother to death. Be the light in that very dark place, be that voice inviting him to accept Jesus, inviting him to reconcile with God, to express his faith. If I were in your situation, that’s what I think I would do.

I will pray that things not only go well for you in making your decision, but also that you will have an opportunity, by God’s grace, to reach him in those final moments before he dies. Maybe you would be the only person in his life who would give this message to him.

Listen to the full call below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9-11 a.m. Eastern/6-9a.m. Pacific.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.