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I’d hope I never need to be this brave for a friend

March 10, 2010

If you haven’t read Ivan Massow’s touching story of being present for several friends’ assisted suicides during the 1980s, then you should go to The Independent and do it now (or at least in a minute or two).

I hope, of course, that my friends are never suffering so greatly that they want helping over the step. And if they did? There’s certainly a fear of arrest (with a young daughter to care for, it’s not an issue I can ignore).I certainly couldn’t inject them as Ivan’s friends did, but that’s squeamishness and needle-phobia on my part. I know that sounds stupid – I wouldn’t be on the sharp end but there you go.

I can, and have, taken cats to the vets to end their suffering. If they gave me the syringe to do it myself though, I’d be in trouble.  If it was hiding a pill in the cat food, well I think I could manage. Anyway, thank god that vets take care of all this for you.

Perhaps one day, doctors will be able to help people who are suffering in a similar way. Until then, if someone wants me to hold their cup while they sip their barbiturates through a straw, I’d be honoured – and scared stupid – to be there for them.

Which brings us back to hoping against all the laws of probability that our loved ones can all slip away peacefully at a suitably advanced age.

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