Dignity in Dying Patron, Eric Idle, is featured in an article in The Sun today, speaking in favour of assisted dying.
Eric writes about the death of his mother, at his LA home ten years ago:
“As I wrote at the time, nothing in life became her so well as the manner of her leaving it. It was one of the finest experiences for all of us.
It started in horror in an accident in our garden and ended two weeks later with a physician telling me she was not going to survive.
Nothing prepares you for that but, mercifully, the St Joseph Providence Hospital provided hospice care.
It had been a painful two weeks of intrusive treatments and she had taken to calling me in the middle of the night asking me to get them to switch her off.
Of course, I refused to do it. “Apart from anything else, Mum,” I said, “it’s a Catholic hospital. They’re just not going to do that.”
“She died a Victorian death surrounded by her loved ones. This was right, natural and dignified.”
What they did do is provide an extremely efficient and caring hospice service which brought her home, made sure she was comfortable and pain free, put her in a hospital bed they brought in, with a lovely lady who came in daily to top up her meds and monitor her comfort level, so we could enjoy her last ten days with her.
We played her favourite music and she lapsed in and out of consciousness until finally, one morning, she slipped away. She died a Victorian death surrounded by her loved ones. This was right, natural and dignified.
“I recommend it to you if you can arrange it. And for you”
Instead of a lonely old woman passing away in some strange hospital, in a foreign country, she was happy, she was smiling, she was conscious, and she told everyone she loved them. That from a Northern mum.
There was never any doubt as to the outcome but we all, from my five-year-old daughter to my 25-year-old son, were able to get used to the idea and fear was absent. I recommend it to you if you can arrange it. And for you.”
“We should all have the right to leave this life peacefully and pain free”
Eric then goes on to express his belief that everyone has the right to have control over their own death:
“We should all have the right to leave this earth peacefully and pain-free, if we can. No Governments, lawyers or religions should have any rights over our liberty to do this.
We all have to learn how to die. It’s the last thing we want to do. But it is the last thing we do do.”
Read the article in full in The Sun