This subject is very close to my heart, as this issue has brushed into my life more than once.
The problem with sanctity of live is sadly mostly to do with longevity of life, achieved by medical means of whatever kind and, of course, the influence of the church in today’s society.
When the subject of the right to die comes up, the same arguments against it are immediately trawled out. It is either that elderly people who consider themselves to be a burden on society could be influenced by their families to elect to want to die. The other argument is the religious one, of most if not all faiths and that is that life is sacred.
But what is forgotten are the people who are terminally ill and are in a lot of pain, those suffering from very advanced Alzheimer’s, who sadly have no control over their bodily functions and just waste away; in effect, they are shells of themselves, the body still works but those parts of the brain that make a person are all dead and will never come back.
I am going to restrict this article to these two groups of people, as extending it to others will water down my argument.
I have had the great misfortune of being face to face with both of these groups and so I think I know what I am talking about.
The problem is money but not in the way that you think. Pharmaceutical companies are so massive, they hold great sway over governments, although that is consistently denied. It is in these companies’ interests to push out drugs to people as much and for as long as possible but the interests of the individual are forgotten.
The terminally ill
These poor people fall into two distinct groups; those who want to live as long as possible regardless of their pain and those who are in so much pain that their quality of life as well as their dignity is heavily compromised; I am only going to deal with the latter, although my first experience overlaps between both of these groups of people.
My Liesel had brain cancer. After so many treatments that were both uncomfortable and painful, she elected to stop all treatments and to live, what life she had left, as fully as possible. She also had a massive incentive to live as long as possible and that was that she could be around for the birth of her first and only niece. The doctors respected her decision as did I, although I knew that it was just a matter of time before I would lose my soul mate.
But, I put my personal feelings aside and just concentrated on Liesel. I can safely say that save for the birth and existence of my darling daughter, the time between that decision and Liesel’s passing was the best time of my life.
At last, Liesel and I were free from hospitals and we could be together as a proper couple in our own newly remodeled house. We spent wonderful times together, both just on our own and with our darling Verity and I believe that Liesel loved her Verity just as much as I did. We had so much fun together, as our own little family; there was so much love there that at times, I felt that our home was not big enough to cope with it all.
We went to as many places as we could but we had to cancel our trip to Vienna because Liesel was not well enough but we did get to Valencia to experience The Fallas and Sicily, although both times, she ended up in hospital for various reasons for a short time. But her determination pushed through and we enjoyed those holidays and those memories are burned into my heart, soul and memory.
We planned to go to South Africa for Christmas; Liesel would go first to spend time with her friends and then once Verity’s school term was over, we would then fly out. It nearly did not happen because shortly before she was due to fly, she fell down the stairs and broke her arm but a sprint up the hard shoulder of the M25 to Ealing hospital put that right.
Then I got the call, dropped everything and flew out to South Africa on my own to see how the land lied and, if necessary, I would arrange for Verity to be dragged out of school and put on a plane.
When I saw my Lies for the first time in a month, I was shocked. When I took her to the airport, she was bright and cheery, even though she was now in a wheel chair and there was nothing to worry about. But now, I saw my Lies who was now a shadow of her former self; she had had a massive stroke. I knew that Lies’s time was near.
I turned my thoughts back to Verity and tried to get Verity out but her mother blocked every move, which she did out of spite as she knew damn well that thousands of children fly solo every year and the airlines have their care down to a fine art.
I did have an alternative that was given to me by Verity’s mother; fly back to the UK to pick up Verity and then fly back. Not only was it a risky thing to do as Liesel was close to death but when I had turned up at Verity’s door, her mother would not have let her fly. But Verity has never got that; it was not me who prevented her from seeing Liesel, it was her mother, the person she dotes on.
As time progressed, Liesel got worse and worse. I remembered what I promised to her months before and that was that I would not let her lose her dignity.
This is where the overlap in her care takes over.
If euthanasia for people who were dying was permitted, then I would have kept to my promise and bumped up her morphine to the maximum and she would have peacefully slipped away but it was not permitted.
I had to make a choice between carrying out her wishes and getting caught, being thrown in prison and not seeing my Verity again or just let things carry on, which I did. Liesel suffered an horrific death but I cannot bring myself to describe it, such is the pain that it still causes me.
But at the end of the day, I let my soul mate down and broke my promise.
Knowing what I know now and experiencing what I have experienced with Verity, I do not believe I would have made that same choice and would have kept my promise to my beloved Lies.
How can humanity allow such a thing to a 39 year old woman or to any person in that same position?
Various religions go on all the time about caring for the sick and dying. How can their resolute objection to euthanasia in such circumstances be seen as caring? They simply cannot, can they.
I need some time , I need a break as it has been painful to write this