My cancer-stricken mum longed to die, but she went on to enjoy another four years surrounded by her loving family, says Baroness Finlay of Llandaff.
Lady Finlay, writing in the Daily Mail, has revealed how her mum longed to escape her suffering caused by breast cancer, but the law against assisted suicide protected her when she was at her most vulnerable.
Describing her mum’s excruciating pain, Lady Finlay says: “As she lay in the hospice, ghostly pale and apparently slipping away before my eyes, my mother was adamant. ‘I just want to die'”.
Like many seriously ill people the Baroness’ mum, Thais, would say: “But I don’t want to be dependent. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”
It was only after talking to a hospital chaplain that the 84-year-old regained her will to live.
Baroness Finlay described the situation, saying: “Suddenly, she realised that if she wasn’t going to be allowed to kill herself, she had better make the most of what time remained.”
The Baroness also revealed how her mother would have deprived herself of the joy and delight of these extra years if she had been helped to commit suicide.
Baroness Finlay describes these extra years, saying: “The birth of her first great-grandson had undoubtedly been the high point of those four extra years of life.
“She never expected to see the fourth generation, but she relished playing with him, rattling an empty saucepan with a wooden brick as he chuckled and returned her love twice over.
“The next baby followed soon after, but by then she could only watch the playing and the feeding, so she simply cradled him lovingly in those arms that had held us all over the years.
“She was determined to stay involved, reading story books about steam engines and teddy bears to the toddler, silently accepting that her days of playing on the floor were over.”
Many other seriously ill people have expressed their gratitude that the law didn’t allow them to commit suicide.
Last month Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, explained how his mother had wanted to die and yet is now happy to be alive.
The Bishop’s mother made a full recovery and celebrated her 63rd wedding anniversary and recently greeted her sixth great-grandchild.
Last month the Director of Public Prosecutions issued guidelines on when cases of assisted suicide will be prosecuted.
The guidelines state that prosecutions are unlikely if the act is “motivated by compassion”.
But Dr Peter Saunders, of the Care Not Killing alliance, criticised the guidelines, saying: “Anyone who takes part in an assisted suicide is going to claim they were acting out of compassion. The only witness who really knows will be dead.”