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The Right to Die

The Right to Die


“I just want to die” he cried out, in a voice that was close to a howl. “Can’t you see I’m in a living hell, I want to stop but I can’t and now, it’s too late; I know that I am dying”.

She, his wife of sixteen years and two children, a son and a daughter, was caught in a web of nursing this man for the last two years. She was wife, mother, nurse and sole provider for this little household.

In Rolf’s case, he was a chronic alcoholic, who spent most of his time in partial or extreme drunkenness. He smoked sixty cigarettes every day and did not want to eat properly, in spite of his wife’s trying to coax him to do so.

For two years Rolf had not had proper employment and what little money he did earn, a large portion was spent on alcohol and cigarettes. During the short periods of his sobriety he was a quiet and gentle man. The moment he began consuming alcohol, he transformed into an abusive demon. He verbally abused his wife and children and although he was never physically violent, he constantly shouted and threatened violence.

Brigitte was a softly spoken woman, who booked no nonsense, but at the same time she was deeply compassionate toward the man that she had loved and had been happily married to for fourteen years. She had a good job and was very protective toward her children. Her sober nature and protectiveness towards her children saved them from what could have been brutal treatment from their father.

After a visit to the hospital, because Rolf was now coughing severely, struggling to breathe and in great pain; he was diagnosed with a rare form of slow growing cancer.

The doctor said that his condition was terminal and although death was not imminent, suffering was however going to intensify.

With the combination of morphine, alcohol and cigarettes, Rolf had very little sleep and was in constant pain that intensified with each day.

He eventually begged Brigitte to help him to die. He said that he could no longer bear the pain and the inability to sleep. He asked her to speak to the doctor to help him to die.

The next visit to the hospital she asked the doctor if there was anything that could be done to end this terrible suffering. The doctor gently explained the laws controlling medical practice in these cases and the fact that even if it should one day be permissible to allow people to have their lives taken, it was not something in the foreseeable future.

Rolf lived for another six months in the most excruciating pain and finally succumbed to a massive heart attack and died.

He left a wife bereft and initially caught in between the emotions of relief and grief. He left two children, confused, angry and afraid for their future.

His wife was also angry at the fact that their precious savings had been depleted by medical and the wasted costs for cigarettes and alcohol over several years. Not to mention funeral expenses.

To add fuel to this fire was the fact that there was no insurance to cover any of the huge costs facing the little family.

Understanding that there are strong religious and moral beliefs, that will speak out against the ‘Right to Die’ issue and mostly these voices will come from those who have never faced anything like Brigitte and Rolf did.

The facts stare at us… it time to grant legislation in favour of those who wish to determine their own time to die?

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2 thoughts on “The Right to Die

  1. It is a very contentious subject. In America several states and 4 countries in Europe have passed a law on Death with Dignity law…..Assisted dying ….
    The UK’s absence of legal euthanasia forces people to travel other nations for the right to die. And It’s time, many are saying to legalise some form of assisted dying and give people the right to choose when and how to die.
    I really don’t believe we have the right to choose how or when we can die but then
    I’ve not been in a situation where I would want that choice.
    I saw a movie a little while ago called YOU BEFORE ME. About a lovely, very successful young man who became totally paralysed after a diving accident; a young girl came to be his live in carer who fell madly in love with him and he with her; but he still went ahead and chose to go to a clinic in Switzerland to die eith dignity…..
    A heart breaking movie….
    I helped care for a lady at Elm court where I live who had cancer of the vagina; and she suffered terribly; I was so relieved when she died; not once did she say she wanted to die in fact she said I want to be alive when you (me) come back from South Africa it was the time when Craig was diagnosed with His cancer. She actually died 4 days after i left and I found it strange too that John Brenda’s husband also died 4 days after i left to go to South Africa; he had bowel Cancer and suffered terribly.
    Then there was our dearest friend Sheila Horsey who had that dreadful Motor Nueron disease I think one of the cruelest of diseases it took three years of suffering before she died! (Robert is now two years on praying that God will give him a wife; there are a two or three in the offering!!)
    And my little friend Karen an ex girl friend of Sean’s who has Multiple Sclerosis another horrible disease; she suffers so much; her husband who was her main carer died of throat cancer a year ago.
    So being with these darling people I think oh dear God……
    But have to pray your will be done. Amen?

    1. Thank you for your comment gloriavictoria very beautifully and compassionately written

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