Assisted Dying – A personal choice


Bassisted-dyingack in December I wrote a post about A Dignified Death and what it meant to me. Personally I am of the firm opinion that death should be a choice we make and we should be allowed to make the decision as to when, how and which way we die.

Sorry if this sounds selfish, but I don’t want to go into a home, because I have lost my marbles due to Alzheimers or senile dementia.  I don’t want to live knowing full well I can’t recognise my own family and I don’t want to live knowing how bad it is for them to see their wife and their mother in such a state that she doesn’t recognise who is visiting and who is not.

I have seen it within my own family.  I have seen a son, who is the most determined of people, cut to the quick when his mother is calling his name out in the home, not to him, but to some stranger that is visiting their relative. I have seen him reduced to tears because he has watched his mother forced fed, because not to fed her would be a criminal act.

That is not life, that is an existence, what quality of life did this relative have, as she sat in that home day after day, just waiting to die?  She couldn’t be taken out on days out, because she would wonder off.  Or she would become violent because she did not recognise the people she was with.

The Commission of Assisted Dying have produced their report, but as Terry Pratchett who helped fund the report said, it doesn’t go far enough as far as he is concerned.

Terry Pratchett said:

When I was in Switzerland I spoke to a lady who pointed out to me that once upon a time all the Swiss girls were going to England to get abortions and now all the English are coming here to die.

As I have said time and time again, I would love for the whole debate to be aired publicly, it is alright for those campaigners for life to put their point of view across and dismiss the idea of euthanasia but what right do they have to tell me how I spend my final years? What right do they have to say that I have to live a life of non-existence and not recognise my own family, because of dementia?  What right do they have to tell me when I die?

I am of sound mind, but one thing I do know, I don’t want to live a life of non-existence.  I don’t want to spend years and years, wearing double incontinent pads and dribbling, all because some person has said it is wrong for me to die.

I don’t want to lay in a bed, riddled with cancer, in pain with sound mind and have to watch my family as their hearts break knowing there is nothing they can do to help ease my pain.

I want my freedom of choice to say, how I will die.  I don’t want to be told how I am going to die and in what undignified manner I am going to have to die.

Call me selfish, I don’t care but it is not your life, it is my life, you are all playing God with. Give me the right to choose and give me the right to die without fear that my family could face prosecution, if they helped me on my way.

To live a non-existence is not life.

Further Reading:

The Commission on Assisted Dying Report – 5th January 2012

Commission on Assisted Dying – Vulnerable Groups

Penney Lewis briefing paper

Evidence Given to Commission on Assisted Dying

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