I’m sitting here in tears because I don’t even know where to start, I cannot understand as human beings how we can let people suffer when there is something we can do about it.
Over the past seven years my family has gone through hell watching loved ones suffer. I’ve lost three grandparents, an aunty and a close friend and they all suffered in the end, some more than others.
I try so much to remember all the good times I’ve had with them all but unfortunately their suffering and my feeling of helplessness overrides that. It’s hard not to wish that I had been able to do something to help them.
My grandfather was the first to go, he had cancer and it spread to his brain. I remember lying on the bed with him at his home looking at photos and laughing, then he screamed in pain. His whole body was tense and you could see the tears running down his face from the pain, I cried with him. He told me that if he was a dog I would be charged with cruelty for letting him go on like this. Pa was put into hospital and lived for another few months and the pain and suffering got worse, the more advanced the cancer got on his brain the more my grandfather became someone I didn’t recognise mentally and physically.
My grandfather was a very intelligent, kind and artistic man who died a very confused, agitated and nasty man of skin and bones. He would have been so ashamed of that.
My beautiful independent aunty was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. It took them 16 months to diagnose it and she died within 7 months, she was only 62. I’m not even sure I can put into words how debilitating this disease is and to watch someone go through it knowing there is no hope is just heart breaking. The problem with this disease is that your mind is still perfect but your body lets you down.
My aunty was put into care and we would visit regularly. I will never forget the day when I went to see her (at this stage she couldn’t talk anymore and was getting fed through a PEG) she was just lying in bed and when I walked in the door she didn’t even smile. She always smiled when I saw her. She leant over to get her note pad and her gown slipped off her back a bit, I could see her spine and it looked like something from a horror movie. I still have nightmares of it. She got her note pad and wrote “I wish I was brave enough and capable to stop this”. She died alone in palliative care, in pain and not surrounded by people that love her. How can this be right?
My other grandfather died on the 3rd September 2016. This broke me. It’s the first time in my life that I thought I could actually kill another person.
These are just a few things and feeling that we went through over the years, it’s hard to put it all into words. I must tell you that all the doctors, nurses and care staff that we have dealt with over the years have been amazing and I feel sorry for them as well, it must be very frustrating to watch people suffer knowing they would do something if they were allowed.
My pa and I always had a special bond, I just adored him. He fought in World War II and was my hero.
Our laws need to be changed, it’s as simple as that.
My family is forever changed from what we’ve experienced and unless you’ve been through anything like this your really have no idea how heartbreaking it is.
I will do as much as I can to support euthanasia so that other people don’t have to go through this.
I myself am not scared of death but I’m petrified to think that I could suffer like they did.
The photo is of my grandfather and myself marching in Melbourne for Anzac Day a few years ago, he was so happy.
Samantha Lancey, February 2017