I feel a need to write something that is not new, it’s been mentioned so many times yet we move no further forward. The right to die when the rest of your life is only going to ever get worse.
My mum died six years ago today. She had dementia. My wife’s mum died before that, she too had dementia. My father-in-law passed away three weeks ago. He had dementia. I would put before and after photos so you can see the dramatic change within a six month period, but you all know what happens in these situations.
The families have to watch their own parents mumbling complete incoherent sentences while they lose weight and their whole body starts to shut down. We know they are going to die, they too know they will die before they lose any sense of reason. But we all have to sit and wait for what could be one day, one week, one month or one year. We don’t know when they are going to go but the one thing we are sure of is that they will get worse as time goes on.
I mention dementia, but motor neurone disease and incurable cancer are amongst other illnesses where the future is a slow waiting game. Walking down a long dark tunnel knowing that a train will come before you reach the end. Because there is no end. This can be stopped, but it is against the law. The law states that they must suffer, and everyone who loves them will have to watch them as they come to the hospital, or nursing home every day only for the patient to not realising who they are.
I have an illness that is going to lead me onto dementia. In my confusion of a mind I feel things happening that shouldn’t be allowed to happen. I feel as if my brain sometimes stops and everything becomes unrecognisable despite the fact I know what it all is. I get embarressed when people look at me while I am half way through a conversation and completely stop and wondering where I am and what the hell was I talking about. Only last week I was asked my address and I didn’t know. I still cant remember. One of our best friends, she’s lovely but I never know her name.
But I am not there, and probably a long way off. In ten years I could be almost like I am now. But in six months I could have full blown dementia. So what do I do. I can’t ask anybody to help me leave this world as it can be classed as murder. To make sure this doesn’t happen, and assuming I still have a slight bit of sense left, I can go off into the woods and kill myself. Now you tell me how sad that would be. But I don’t want to be an obvious burden to my family, I don’t want their last memory to be of me laying in a bed unable to talk to them, or to eat, or drink and having the life taken from me.
I asked my two children once “If I died what would be your best memory of me?” They both replied my humour. Somehow this memory becomes mixed up with the last memory they have of me.
I want to go with my family around me. They all know my thoughts on dying, I have made sure they understand that when I go, it is because the time is right. I want a whisky before I go. I want to tell my wife, and kids, and friends how very proud I was to have them as part of my life. I even want to try to make them laugh. I want to go as a husband, father, grandfather and friend to all of those who were part of my life. The way it stands now I shall do none of this. It is so wrong. The next time they vote on this bill they must allow people to die while they have a mind to make that decision. If there is ever a chance for you to support this cause please do. Who would want to go in pain?
I’m sorry if I am preaching a bit but the one thing in life we are all sure of is that one day it will be our turn, and hopefully our decision too.