Should you have the right to end your own life and if so would you appreciate a little help ? Now there is a thorny subject.
I have heard old people say they wish they weren’t here anymore particularly after their partner has died along with other siblings and friends. People who are housebound, suffered from incurable diseases of the mind and body – Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia or Parkinson’s live difficult and often lonely lives. I read a comment last year about a woman with dementia who woke up every morning next to a man she did not recognise as her husband, to all intentional purposes a stranger. How frightening must that be?
These people in my opinion deserve the right to assisted suicide, but who is going to make the decision as to when the time is right if they can longer do it for themselves. A popular comment I’ve heard is that if the person was a cat or dog you would do the decent thing, take it to the vet and let it go in a dignified way. Watching someone you love having their brain destroyed by a disease for which there is no known cure must be a very difficult thing. If you love them you don’t want them to suffer and yet could you be the one to end their life. Difficult isn’t it?
When my mother-in-law was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s it was a relief to know why she had such difficulty remembering anything. As the disease progressed it became more of a challenge and when she was finally admitted into hospital we were told that rather than the gradual decline associated with the illness we thought she had it was vascular dementia. The difference is that with the latter your brain goes along nicely for a while and then bang a mini stroke destroys another part of you. Because of her condition she could not go home so she moved to a place where they could care for her properly 24/7. Not an easy decision but the right one. Watching her deteriorate over the next seven months was not a pleasurable experience and if we could have ended her life with dignity without fearing recriminations from the courts it might have been a consideration.
I’m not eighty yet so I don’t know how I will feel when I’m nearer that age so at the moment I think people should have the right to commit suicide, it can’t be an easy decision to make. What we need to do is prevent people from reaching such depths of despair that this appears to be the only option. Euthanasia is more tricky, right now I’m in favour, ask me again when I’m older.