I am concerned about the End-of-Life Choices (Voluntary Assisted Dying) Bill 2020 because many people go through temporary feelings of despondency and despair which can very easily be misunderstood as a wish to die. But when they are not in these lows, they would never wish to go through with euthanasia. Hence taking “Voluntary” out of VAD.
We will never know what the last moments of life will bring for our family and loved ones even after many years of suffering. Peace and joy can and have been these last moments for my grandparents who passed away at the ages of 85, 91, 84 and more recently on the 1st of May 2020, 96.
My grandmother, known to us as Babcia, who passed away in the recent months came to live with my family. She endured great suffering after she had fallen a few times and began to become more dependent on her family hence her coming to live with us.
My family has always been a close one, but I became even more so to my grandmother during her time with us. My close relationship with her meant that her sufferings were extremely apparent to me. Babcia went through temporary bouts of despondency and despair but our extra efforts to comfort her during these times reminded her that she was an important part of our family, still having meaning and reasons to be alive.
Because of University, I moved away from Tasmania to Sydney and would often call Babcia. A few hours before Babcia passed away, she was all smiles and laughter when I called her over Facetime. It was not only during these last few hours that she had been joyful but also the past few days. Babcia had just undergone surgery for a pacemaker, and I was informed by my aunt that Babcia had been very peaceful and happy despite being in hospital.
I cannot stress enough, how beautiful this last moment with Babcia was, neither of us knowing that she would pass away only hours later. Death is not a personal issue; many people mourned the loss of Babcia. I can confirm that if her death had been premature and if she had taken the option of “Voluntary assisted dying” the mourning process for the rest of the family would not have felt whole. Seeing her be at peace and be genuinely happy meant that we knew she had overcome her sufferings; this was something I knew she had to do before passing away.
Our last words to each other were. “kocham Cię” in Polish this means ‘I love you’.