ColumnistsVogue Williams

Losing a parent is so hard but ending your life for fear of getting old is wrong

Losing a parent is so hard but ending your life for fear of getting old is wrong

I have read a lot of stories on assisted suicide and I am completely on the fence as to whether or not it should be legalised.

I believe that people with a terminal illness have the right to die with dignity and without pain. 

I would wish that for everyone, so I can understand why people with terminal illnesses would choose this. 

The part on assisted suicide that I don’t agree with is when a healthy person decides they have had enough of life and they are ready to go. 

Recently, a palliative care nurse decided to end her life because she never wanted to be old. She said: “I do not think old age is fun.” 

Gill Pharaoh had no health problems and was a mother of two. 

For the sake of her children alone, I don’t know how she went ahead with her decision. 

If my mother made that decision while she was in perfect health I would never be able to understand it and I would never be able to forgive her. 

Having lost a parent myself, I know that it is a grief you can never get over. Losing anyone is incredibly hard, but if they died because they chose to die, it would make it immeasurably harder. 

I feel incredibly sad for these people and I truly believe depression has a role to play in their decision to give up on life. I don’t think these people need help to die, I  think they need help to live. 

I don’t suffer from depression, but I have very close friends who do and I know how much of a debilitating illness it is. 

My worry with assisted suicide being legalised in the U.K. and Ireland, is that healthy people may choose this as a way to end their lives if it is openly available. 

On another note, I have also read a story on a man suffering from locked-in syndrome who went to court to be allowed the right to die, but was refused permission by a judge. 

This man had no quality of life, he could do nothing for himself and he had lost his speech. He was enduring a living nightmare. 

I think in cases like this, when someone will never have any quality of life, exceptions should be made. 

When a person is gravely ill and a decision has to be made on a life-support machine, you are told what type of life they will be living if they are kept alive. If it’s bad, the best decision is to let them go.

That would be the reason I would agree with some cases on assisted suicide, because to me it’s a similar circumstance.

As to whether or not it should be legalised in Ireland, I just don’t know where I stand on that.