As a young journalist I once listened in awe as a 90-year-old former nurse told me how she helped a dying cancer patient into the great beyond with the help of a pillow.
In the absence of any better medication in that time and place, and with his wife in hysterics at the pain he was forced to endure, death was going to be a friend; it was life, life gone wild, that was killing him.
'We called it "pointing them to Heaven",' she told me.
Decades later, I mentioned this to another, younger nurse, who gave me a blank look, and then said: 'We used to call it "showing them the way".'
Then she walked off quickly, aware that she had left a hostage to fortune.
I have been told that doctors do not like patients to worry that, theoretically, their GP has the expertise to kill them. Really?
I suspect that even my dentist has the means to kill me. It does not worry me in the slightest, and I imagine that, like many other people, I would be very happy for the medical profession to help me over the step.
I have written a living will to that effect, and indeed this article in The Mail on Sunday will be evidence of my determination in this matter. I cannot make the laws but you have no idea how much I hope those in a position to do so will listen.
In the course of the past few years, I have met some delightful people who say they have a passion for caring and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt them. Can they accept, however, that there are some people who have a burning passion not to need to be cared for?
It appears to be an item of faith with many people I have spoken to that both doctors and nurses, at least in hospital, still have 'things they can do' when the patient is in extremis.
I certainly hope this is true, but I wish we could blow away the clouds obscuring the issue and embrace the idea of ending, at their request, the life of a terminally ill person at a time and, if possible, a place of their choosing.
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Life is easy and cheap to make. But the things we add to it, such as pride, self-respect and human dignity, are worthy of preservation, too, and these can be lost in a fetish for life at any cost.
I believe that if the burden gets too great, those who wish to should be allowed to be shown the door.
In my case, in the fullness of time, I hope it will be the one to the garden under an English sky. Or, if wet, the library.