“It was a simple email that changed me for ever.”
That’s how Sir Patrick Stewart began his personal essay for the Daily Mail about his buddy David Pinder whose wife, Gillian, killed herself at the age of 53. She was suffering from the latter stages of terminal cancer, and while “lying in their bed, almost too ill to move, she suffocated herself with a plastic bag after convincing him to take their beloved dog for a walk.” And so began Stewart’s once-reluctant ascension as a spokesperson for legalizing assisted suicide.
I have, for many years, taken the whole issue of planning for the future very seriously. And, at the age of 73, I have to consider the fact of my own mortality.
I have come to see planning for death is simply another aspect of planning for life. It is part of a process of making sure the people you love will be taken care of, emotionally as well as practically.
I have a drawn up a ‘living will’, a document that gives specific instructions to doctors to withhold care from me in certain circumstances.
Sadly, because of the law in this land, it cannot include anything to do with taking one’s own life or my wish for an assisted death should I become terribly ill. If I could do that, I would.
And I am sure Gillian would have done so too. As it was, she had an official certificate asking that she should not be resuscitated in the event of a cardiac arrest.
The medical profession had nothing else to offer her, even with a tumour so large and painful that she looked eight months’ pregnant. The whole process was traumatic. (Via)