radically accepting finitude
A GRANDMOTHER who wanted to end her life has starved herself to death because she had “no alternative”.
Jean Davies, 86, fasted for five weeks claiming it was the only way she could legally exercise her right to die. In England, assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal.
“It is hell. I can’t tell you how hard it is,” the right-to-die campaigner told The Sunday Times four weeks into her fast.
“You wouldn’t decide this unless you thought your life was going to be so bad. It is intolerable.”
She said her four children and two grandchildren supported her choice, and her doctor agreed to help ease the symptoms of starvation.
“I am doing nothing wrong. We are not breaking the law,” she said.
“What alternative do I have? The other methods, to my knowledge, are either illegal or I would need to go to (the Dignitas clinic in) Switzerland, and I want to die in my own bed.”
The former maths teacher, who did not have a terminal illness but who suffered a range of medical conditions, died on October 1. She dedicated most of her life to campaigning for doctors to be allowed to administer lethal injections to people who wanted to die.
Ms Davies’ daughter, Bronwen, said her mother had been frustrated that dying had taken so long.
“She hadn’t realised that it would take her so long to die after she stopped drinking. She thought it might take three days. It took a fortnight,” the 64-year-old said.
Ms Davies’ death has sparked renewed calls for voluntary euthanasia reform.
On November 7, the House of Lords House of Lords will debate an assisted dying bill proposed by Lord Falconer. It would allow doctors to give terminally ill adults life-ending medication.