Stories of people who changed their minds
“Research shows that most people who attempt suicide don’t want to die – they just want their pain to end or can’t see another way out of their situation. Support from people who care about them, and connection with their own sense of culture, identity and purpose, can help them to find a way through.”
– Mental Health Foundation
Here are some stories showing that the above is true also for people who want “assisted dying”.
Connecting with a sense of purpose
“I was the physio in a rest home. One of our residents, Rona, was in her 90s. She had had a long, active and happy life, but became really ill when influenza turned into pneumonia. I heard her repeatedly asking the doctor for something to take so she could go to heaven. She had lived long enough and was tired, she said. This continued for a week or so. She was cared for and comforted, but still persisted in telling everyone who came near that she wanted to die. This was the state of affairs when I signed off on Friday afternoon.
“On the following Monday I returned to work, feeling certain that Rona would have passed away over the weekend, only to find her sitting up eating breakfast and full of energy! What had happened?
“‘I can’t die yet,’ she said. ‘I’ve just been told that there is another great grandchild on the way and I’ve been asked to knit a teddy bear for it’!
“Rona lived another five or six years: happy healthy ones enjoying her family and friends.”
(This is a true story from New Zealand. Rona is not her real name.)
Support from people who care, and connecting with their sense of identity
Valentina Maureira (14) suffered from cystic fibrosis and watched her brother die from this condition when he was six years old. In February 2015 she asked the Chilean president, Michele Bachelet, to grant her euthanasia (a lethal injection from a doctor) so she could “sleep forever”. The president, who is also a paediatrician, visited her, but didn’t grant her request.
Three weeks later it was reported that Valentina changed her mind about wanting to die, after meeting Maribel Oviedo from Argentina (22) who suffers from the same disease. Valentina had also received psychological support.
In May she died from her disease.