Friday, November 07, 2008

Open Letter... my boys, my partner, my brothers.

Promise me this: if I go dotty, if I cannot live with dignity, if I cannot live independently, please have me put down!

I could not bear to be no more than a living shell, useless even as company let alone as a contributing member of society. Unable to talk or communicate because the meaning of words is lost would offend my degenerating me.

Evaporating personal hygiene, worse than the most recalcitrant toddler, would be an unbearable affront.

I'm not interested in the 'sanctity of life'. I'm more interested in the 'sanctity of a dignified life'. 'Sanctity of life' is for societies with too much money and time on their hands. Money for research to prolong my agony, but not enough respect to let me go. Too much time to nitpick over definitions, or bow to fanatical lobbies representing nutters who don't represent me.

Please keep God out of it. He won't save my dignity when I'm incontinent and a burden to my loved ones. He won't rescue me from the mental torture of a slow degeneration. He won't be there to care for me when my loved ones can't take any more.

Life is for the living, not the living dead. If I become a living dead, I'd rather just be dead. I'd rather be remembered with joy and affection, respect and admiration, than despised for hanging on too long, ruining the lives of those I love.

Take me to Switzerland and have me die with dignity, on my own terms, in my own time - my choice. I don't want someone unknown medical ethics committee deciding whether I should drag out my life against my will. Before I get too far gone, I should be able to make that decision myself. I should not be penalised, criminalised, criticised. Nor should the one who takes me.

Hopefully, by the time this becomes an issue, European governments will have got off the fence and faced up to reality. The reality of having vast numbers of dotty folk demanding ever more by way of resources should do much to concentrate governmental health service minds.

This would be my message to the Powers that Be: Get out of the way, and let me go.


  1. A vast and difficult debate, but one that has to be sorted, sooner rather than later, especially with increasingly ageing populations. I suppose the main fear is that if assisted suicide is legalised there is the problem of certain people abusing the situation - be they families, doctors or specialists.

    I haven't been confronted with Alzheimer's in a member of my family so it is difficult to have an opinion. I don't know that I would be able to make such an enormous decision. Is the sufferer aware of their condition, after a certain point?

    Until legislation is passed, if ever it is, this terrible illness should have huge sums injected into research and hospices built that allow families some relief from the drudgery of looking after a victim.

    I'm sure that your Mum really appreciated her couple of days of being pampered and being able to think only of herself - hope it recharged her batteries.

  2. hi Sarah,

    i'm not sure what to say, hard to find the right words. just wish you've the strength and comfort. i think i know how you feel.


  3. Thank you, Louise and Tree. It is a terrible, terminal situation to have Alzheimer's, and those who suffer from it seem to suck the air out of those around them. They need to be told to do everything.

    I really believe that safeguards can be found to protect the innocent, but that the risk of abuse should not prevent the relief of many. Using the risk of abuse as an all-encompassing excuse to do nothing is actually abusive to those who live in hell because of the cowardice of the Powers that Be to deal with the issue.

  4. Here here, dear.

    Its is now a terrible burden for the nearest and dearest to cope with a far gone Alsheimer.and not fair.

    The compus mentus member of the couple has to give up thier life to care for, and protect 24 hours a day - and it is not possible for family to cope with such a burden.

    Sooner or mater Authorities will have to come forth and help those who do not have sufficient funds to have their beloveds looked after.

    Most of the time the one that still has full intellectual faculties is deprived of any form of pleasure in life, and also oten at an age when they should be able to live in peace and quiet and ejoy themseles, after years of already devoting themselves to work, their families etc.

    It's just not fir - beacause those who have sufficient funds can get proper caring.........

    Things must change.


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