Diane Rehm, whose new film is When My Time Comes.
Credit: National Institutes of Health, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

When My Time Comes

No one wants to talk about death—about wills, power of attorney, advanced directives. Peabody-winning journalist Diane Rehm hopes her upcoming documentary When My Time Comes can help change that. She also hopes it can spark conversations about medical aid in dying (MAID), a practice that allows terminally ill patients to receive life-ending medications from their physicians if they meet certain criteria. Rehm’s When My Time Comes follows the 2014 death of her husband John, who spoke with his own physicians about MAID. However, because he lived in Maryland (where the practice is illegal), he opted for VSED—voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. Reflecting on his death, Rehm has expressed frustrations with the process, and she has advocated for MAID since. The documentary takes her across the country, building on her 2020 book of the same name. As director Joe Fab tells it, When My Time Comes follows Rehm on her journey to learn as much as possible about MAID through conversations with patients, family members, physicians, clergy, and lawmakers. It also brings her in conversation with advocacy groups like Oregon-based Compassion & Choices. Ahead of the national launch of When My Time Comes, Rehm makes clear its relevance: MAID is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. Ten other states are currently debating authorizing the practice. The film airs on WETA at 9 p.m. on April 13. More information is available at whenmytimecomesmovie.com. Free.