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Sherry commented on Experiencing actual dying through others

Sorry - I have somehow used my old Facebook to reply - but it is the same person who wrote the post!


Sherry commented on Experiencing actual dying through others

Hi Joanna,
I came across this documentary on assisted dying and, once I started watching, I couldn't stop. 
The show really delved into the family and friend dynamic and how the persons choice to die on a certain date affected each individual. 
The biggest thing for me was the guilt on the part of the person dying. Because his family and friends could not bear the thought of losing him, they felt that he should accept that he was going to slowly lose his faculties and end up unable to move or speak and eventually he would suffocate. His wife manipulated him with guilt until he finally agreed to "stick it out" and even went and viewed the nursing home where he would inevitably end up.
Watching this unfold really drove home how desperately we need to change our societies perception of death and the fear that motivates it. 
Eveyone else around this man knew he was terrified - not of dying - but of ending up unable to communicate, yet they all wanted him to suffer so that they would be okay. How warped is that? 
Eventually, while he was still able, he attempted suicide. The shock of this motivated his family to fly him across the world to finally allow him the dignity of being able to end his life on his terms. He was unable to speak but could still write, and had written a beautiful letter to his wife which he had had recorded for her. He lay in a strange country, in a strangers house - without an ounce of fear, only relief and love for the people around him. He played the message to his wife, put in his earphones with his favourite music, turned on the drip that would end his life, and gently went to sleep and slipped away.
The love and respect I felt for this man is hard to describe. To allow cameras into his life at such a time seems like a difficult thing to do - but he made death look so natural that it can only be a good thing right? If we could provide access to a whole range of people whose lives are ending, who are happy to share their experience with others, then eventually it would become the norm. I know Indians use the term "expire" rather than death - even renaming it makes it sound less scary.
My fear around death still exists, but it's more the dying part - not the end that scares me. If I could do what that beautiful man in the documentary did and have my family, my animals, the smells I love like fresh cut oranges and lavender in my room, my favourite music playing, and the sound of my husbands voice talking in the background as he strokes my hair. Normal every day sounds and a feeling of being loved. Not trauma. Not sadness. Just normality. That would be my wish.
Now I need to go and have a cry :-)