11:43, October 25 266 0 theguardian.com

2019-10-25 11:43:03
Why we should allow assisted dying in UK

I am so sad, but so pleased for Marieke (Paralympic gold medalist Marieke Vervoort ends her life in Belgium, theguardian.com, 23 October). She lived in a civilised country that allowed her wish. The pain has stopped.

On 28 April 2017 my husband Andrew died at Dignitas. On 17 November 2017 my close friend Annie died at Dignitas. It is so sad we have to flee to a foreign land to do what is completely logical. The overriding feeling of relief both Andrew and Annie felt when they got the “green light” from Dignitas was palpable. No one wants to die but no one wants to suffer unnecessarily either. So, no contest. Andrew said: “I want to go out on my feet and with self still intact. I do not want to die a drooling, addled mess.” And he did just that, with me holding his hand. I was, and am, happy for him. I loved him enough to let him go when he was ready.

I wish to thank, from the bottom of my heart, Ludwig Minelli for founding Dignitas, but also the Swiss people for allowing foreigners to come to their country to end their lives in such a civilised manner.

There is enough natural grief and sadness without the added burden of watching that loved one suffering and then dying badly. We must have this choice. It should be our human right, if we so wish, to die as Andrew and Annie did, but in the UK. It should not just be those who are lucky enough, savvy enough, rich enough and “well” enough who are able to flee to a foreign land.

Sara Starkey

Tonbridge, Kent

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