Soran Reader (Philosophy, Durham) provides an insight into her own experience of being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and the availability or otherwise of euthanasia in the UK, in this week’s Times Higher Education. It’s powerful stuff.
[T]he possibility that really threatens to break me is that I may be unable to remember my children. I have already had a glimpse of life without those memories. During recent seizures, I lost my memories of when my daughters were born. The loss of mere dates may seem trivial, but the abyss it has opened to thought is terrifying, a glimpse of my life without my connections and my history.
I am certain that I do not want to live on if that happens. I am terrified by the spectre of loss of self. But I am out of my mind with anger that my own country does not allow me to protect myself and my family from this horror safely. I am anguished at the thought that my children, on top of their grief at the loss of their mother, may have to cope with me as someone else, someone lost in the world or in a vegetative state.
Until the issue was spelt out for me in the terrifying light of this diagnosis, I had no idea how monstrous our country’s euthanasia policies were. I had seen the stories on TV of people being prosecuted for helping family members die, of terminally ill people travelling abroad to be put down, but I had never put two and two together. […] It is completely wrong that UK law does not enable me to protect myself or my children from the loss of my self by arranging to be killed if the surgery goes wrong.
The law must be changed so that people facing fatal or self-destroying conditions do not also have to endure this agony of not being able to protect their selves and their loved ones.
It is not rocket science. It is obscenely overdue.