This tragic story out of Dallas, Texas also involves caregiving, care facilities, and multiple sclerosis. ... I can understand how despair can erase the legal and moral definitions of quality of life and right to live or die. I pray the pressures and confusion of caregiving do not force more to such despair.
By Julia Glick The Associated Press Friday, May 19, 2006
DALLAS -- An elderly man who killed his invalid wife last month because his own health was failing and he couldn't bear to send her to a nursing home has died of cancer, his daughter said.
"He was comfortable. He was at peace and ready to be with the woman he loved," said Sally Roberson, who discovered her 83-year-old father dead in his bed Thursday.
James Roberson was charged with murder after the April 25 shooting. His daughter said he put off the deed until "the 11th hour," when he feared he was losing the hand strength to fire his heirloom pistol. He then turned the gun on himself, but it jammed, his daughter said.
He was freed on bail and spent his final days at his daughter's home.
Sally Roberson said her mother, Mary Roberson, 83, would not have wanted to live without her husband.
The couple had been high school sweethearts and were always together. After a series of strokes left her incapacitated and unable to speak, he tended to her every need, neighbors said.
James Roberson brushed his wife's hair, washed her and spoon-fed her each day, but he was growing more ill from brain and lung cancer.
He didn't want to send her to a nursing home, where workers were too busy to try to understand her labored speech and needs, Sally Roberson said, and he worried that his daughter, who has multiple sclerosis, wouldn't be able to care for her.
She said her father will be cremated and his remains placed beside his wife's.
"It has been a blessing that he has been here with me and that he died at home," she said.
© 2006 The Associated Press