Last year I struck up an email friendship with an amazing person. Clever, witty, intelligent and above all gentle. I’m going to call this person James, just to protect their identity a little but those of you who know this person will understand, who it is I’m talking about. I just wanted to say goodbye in my own way and what better place than Uninterrupted where we first met.
James, what can I say. You made a difference. You were always there with an encouraging word, with compassion and empathy. You made the biggest difference in my life. All your emails were without a doubt one of the things that got me through the worst year of my life. Why? Because you had been through all that I was going through, you understood, I could offload to you without fear of judgement, without prejudice. You were forever encouraging and witty. So in the second half of this year, whilst I was getting so much better, regaining lost functions, getting my life back a little. You were in your own private living hell. Making decisions, nobody ever wants to have to make.
Yes, our disease course was very different but our disease was the same. You were a great advocate of Dying with Dignity, of Voluntary Euthanasia, you were a voice for many of the unheard. People living in hell with no way out, an advocate. I call you a visionary. I know loss of function weighed heavily upon you, much more heavily than I could have imagined and the world is a less brighter place without you in it but I do understand why you are no longer part of our lives.
I loved your writing, your wonderful sense of humour. Your funny cartoons, with a serious message. I still look at my emails and expect a hello from you but it doesn’t come and I don’t think I will ever get used to that. Something is missing in my life and that is your never ending encouragement and support. Your friendship in the lonely world of MS.
I suppose I just wanted to say, we all need to be respectful of people’s decisions. Voluntary Euthanasia and Dying with Dignity is without a doubt a can of worms, people will always find issues with it. Ethical problems, legal problems but it would help so many people to not die alone and in secret. It would eliminate the loneliness and the extreme guilt of making these choices by themselves. It would allow the vulnerable, terminal and seriously disabled to choose when they have had enough and allow them the blessing of having family members with them when they choose their time to go. It would bring comfort and support and to those who sorely need it.
Far too many people are dying alone and without their families to support and comfort them, to tell them it’s ok to let go. To be with them at such an important time. It’s not right and it’s not fair. It’s time we all looked at this issue seriously, start a conversation, bring it out into the open. Dying with Dignity should be everybody’s right. We euthanize our animals when they are suffering, why are we not given the same choice? The same dignity when it is our time to leave?
Be certain my friend, you made a difference and wherever you are I hope your walking with your head held high. (And that bloody wheelchair has been kicked to the curb!)
Peace, love and green smoothies. You are sorely missed.