I am an ex-nurse and, in my later years, studied a diploma of social sciences. In both careers I worked with many elderly people where I experienced the desire of people wanting to die with dignity. In many cases their wishes were supported within the extended family.
My father had lung cancer. The final few weeks of his life were spent in agony, he was unable to sleep in a bed, could not eat anything, was humiliated by me bathing him. I would ask him to pretend I was wearing my nurses uniform and forget I was his daughter.
To watch this once strong, independent man suffer so much was terrible.
My friend of 55 years spent one year on cancer drugs then finally said "I can't keep living like this." He refused further treatment, and took 6 months to die while in terrible pain. I could no longer recognise him as the person he was.
I don't want to experience any of this. I am not pushing my ideas on others but I would like to have the choice once I can no longer live the life I want. My husband also does not want to end his life dependent on others. The only option we have at the moment is to take our own life in a horrific, uncontrolled manner or suffer a lingering death in the hands of the medical system. By being given a choice of dying with dignity we would have the opportunity to select an alternative.
Elvie Murphy, December 2016