Sir Edward Downes was a British conductor; his wife, Lady Joan, was a former ballerina, choreographer and TV producer. They were educated and prominent--but last week they chose to end their lives, hand in hand, via assisted suicide at a Zurich clinic. They left no explanation; what's known is that, at 85, Sir Edward was almost blind and increasingly deaf; Lady Joan, at 74, may have received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Their adult children issued a statement: "After 54 happy years together, they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems. They died peacefully, and under circumstances of their own choosing...." Since the double death, a firestorm of criticism has raged and most of it is very reasonable. But at the center of it all are a husband and wife--and what draws us to them may not be reasonable but it's real.