You might think it’s strange that I’m thinking about my own death when I’m in my 60’s.
Especially seeing as the statistics show I’m likely to live at least another 20 to 25 years.
But it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought.
There’s been a lot of talk here on SAS in recent weeks about voluntary euthanasia, and it got me thinking – if I felt the time was right, I’d like to die with dignity.
I’ve watched people – friends and family – fade away in old age and in illness. It’s such a terrible way to die, traumatic for both the person dying and their family and friends who sit back and watch, unable to do anything.
I’m healthy and strong now.
But what if tomorrow I found out I had terminal cancer? Or another debilitating condition that would severely impact my quality of life and lead to a slow, unpleasant death?
I wouldn’t want that. I wouldn’t want the last memories my family and friends have of me as a weak, sick, dying old woman in bed.
I’d want them to remember how vibrant and full of life I am.
For me, that’s why I’d want to die with dignity. I always joke with my kids and tell them to smother me with a pillow if I have to go to a nursing home.
I tell my grandies that the day I can’t get out in my garden anymore or go for my morning walk is the day I don’t want to live anymore.
It may seem many things to many people – selfish, strange, weird.
But in the end, I’ve chosen how I live my life – surely I should be able to choose how it ends as well?
Opponents of voluntary euthanasia and dying with dignity have labelled it “murder” and “playing god”.
I label it end suffering, finishing on a good note, going out on a high.
Let’s be honest, who really wants to die in a hospital bed so sick they can barely move? Or so out of their mind that they’re almost a vegetable?
Whenever I’ve visited a nursing home or aged care facility, I always look at some of the older people who can’t shower, walk or even talk on their own anymore.
It makes me so sad – sad that they were once vibrant people, so full of life and now they’re helpless and fragile. It might be “nature’s way” as some label it, but it’s not the way I want to go.
I want to die with dignity, and I hope when my time comes it’ll be a legal option for me.