Euthanasia

I just finished reading a few diary-entries by Marc Weide, dated at the time from when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer up to, and including, her death through euthanasia.

The excerpts are short in length and fear-packed. They make my innards bunch and me think of how I’d react if one of my parents were to fall terminally ill. I have so far not encountered a death in my family, and this article partially reminds me of it; the other part deals with the feelings that the Weides go through as the mother is doing what is right for herself, even though it means that she and her family can count the minutes until her death and all that is entailed. I feel my guts churning as I’m writing this, hoping I’ll never have to live through what she and her family did. I’m sorry for them, and I’m not saying one method is to prefer over another. There must be so many emotions that wallow through the affected person when thinking of what to do.

Here is the introductory part of the quotes from his diary, available through clicking the image above.

Monday February 11 2008

5.30pm: Dad is bent over the toilet bowl with a brush in his hand and a scowl on his face. I walk up to him. “Shall I give you a hand?” Dad begins to snigger, abandoning any attempt to make sense of the situation. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our backs to Mum, who paces around the landing with a newly fitted catheter in her hand.

The catheter has been put in by nurse Marianne to enable our GP, who will be with us in half an hour, to give Mum a lethal injection. But instead of having a moment of peace with us, as Marianne suggested, Mum demands that we clean the toilets. Both upstairs and downstairs.

My brother, Maarten, is sitting on the edge of the bath, staring out of the bathroom window.

“Imagine,” he mutters. “Her last hour, spent like this.”

This is the Netherlands, where voluntary euthanasia is permitted, as well as physician-assisted suicide. This is the day my mother has chosen to die, and the toilets need to be spotless.

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