When is the right time to die?
I warn you now, this may not be easy to read. Currently in the UK there is yet another high court battle to try and allow assisted suicide. Currently in the UK it is illegal to help someone who wants to die, die. Now don’t get me wrong I understand that this is a very delicate subject and could be open for massive abuse if it was brought about incorrectly. However, I have always and even more so now believed that people have the right to die with dignity.
When I was 8 years old my mum became very ill, for 2 years she battled the cancer. But towards the end when she was in a hospice I have a vivid memory of her in pain, begging for help to end her life. I clearly remember her saying – if I was a horse they would shoot me. Yes, that is a hideous memory for any child to have and of course nurses ushered my sister, who was only a couple of years older than me, out of the room. However, paper hospital curtains do not allow for privacy and are certainly not sound proof. I think once I reached an age where I could understand I believed in assisted suicide, from that memory. As well as from the weeks that followed that incident - watching someone die is not like it is in the movie’s it is long, drawn out and filled with pain and turmoil. Yes, in the very end my mum slipped peacefully into sleep, with her family around her, but by that point because of the drugs and treatment, she looked nothing like my mum and the last few months of her life were not happy.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with my husband about assisted suicide and a company in Switzerland. He wasn’t very receptive to the conversation but understood that I needed to have it. I understand why he wasn’t receptive - he doesn’t want to have to think about his wife dying. I understand that, I don’t want to think about it either. However, I have a progressive condition and I have no idea how this is going to end up. Of course, I also have a heart condition which makes me prone to sudden death so that may just solve the problem for me – I say that with humour. If there is one thing I have learnt it’s having a sense of humour about your illness is vital. All I want to do is make sure that if I am in a situation where I am in constant pain and unable to have any quality of life, I have options.
That is what I believe a right to die is all about, options.