They listened to the radio until there was nothing more to do. Philip went into the house and retrieved a container of Kraft vanilla pudding, which he’d mixed with all the drugs he could find in the house—Valium, Klonopin, Percocet, and so on. He opened the passenger-side door and knelt beside Becky. He held a spoon, and she guided it to her mouth. When Becky had eaten all the pudding, he got back into the driver’s seat and swallowed a handful of pills. Philip asked her how the pudding tasted. “Like freedom,” she said. As they lost consciousness, the winter chill seeped into their clothes and skin.
Over the last fourteen years, Becky had lost her voice, her hearing, her teeth, and her mobility after several strokes and bouts of cancer. Philip spent exhausting hours on the phone with insurance companies, trying to deal with the piles of hospital bills. They had finally found their way out.
When Becky didn’t return at her usual time, around 9:30, ManorCare asked the police for a “wellness check.” The officers arrived at the house at 1:15 am and pulled the couple from the car, cut off their clothes, injected them with Narcan, and performed CPR. An ambulance took them to the hospital. Philip was in a coma for three days.
– Harper’s Magazine