I am a single 32-year-old man who recently lost my Grandmother after she had lived in our family home for over five years. We are a close-knit family of European descent with a strong Catholic heritage and faith, my grandmother had been a strong matriarch in the family.
After a fall, she lost much of her independence and increasingly had to rely on us over the last few years of her life. This was a challenge for all of us, though especially for her as she struggled with the humiliation of depending on others. Despite the challenges, it was a time that my family and I will cherish for the rest of our lives, as we all became closer to each other, and grew personally in many ways.
I know that she had always been against the idea of euthanasia in any way. Watching my grandmother go through occasions of great depression and distress, feeling so unloved and such a burden on us, made me see how someone in this situation could easily feel pressured to opt for voluntary assisted suicide if it were legal. This was never a consideration for us because we value life. When she suffered from these bouts of depression, although it was very difficult, we worked hard to convince her that we wanted her with us. As she slowly began to realise that we did love and cherish her, she would pass through the darker days to again become a joyful presence in the family home.
If the End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 were passed, making Euthanasia legal, my grave fear is that she (and others) would have more reason to believe that they weren’t really wanted. I also fear that these vulnerable people, without consulting family and friends, may seek out a doctor euthanise them just to ‘relieve our burden’.
Our Grandmother, this year, had a natural death. Though sad for us, it was a beautiful time because she was surrounded by a loving family. I can only imagine the grief and guilt we would all be struggling with now if euthanasia had been an option.
*Person’s real name has not been used as they wish to remain anonymous.