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John's mother

Eleven years ago, my mother had a stroke and took seven months to die.

As her principal carer I divided my days into good days and bad days. A good day for me was when she said, ‘John, I want to die.’ A bad day was when she said, ‘John, please kill me.’

That was the only thing in her whole life that she had ever asked of me, and I didn’t love her enough to do it because of the legal consequences. Eventually she starved herself to death.

Now I live with the guilt: callous, cruel and selfish before God and my mother, but innocent before the law.

John Acton, first published in The Damage Done, August 2016

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