I’ve always strongly believed that no matter what, myself or loved ones would always fight to the bitter end through any illness or test that was thrown our way through life. No matter what it required or how excruciatingly uncomfortable it could be, we’d do whatever it took to survive and eventually live & thrive again. Life, after all, is the most precious gift and should be preserved at all costs. This was always just a non-negotiable fact of life for me.
However, my ‘no matter what’ belief was tested drastically, and changed for a time, during the months of Dad’s suicide attempts & deteriorating mental health. It really made me question & re-evaluate my view on life and our purpose for being here.
I used to always think that no matter how dark someone’s depression made them feel, life was always still worth living. But when you’ve lived through it and witnessed the indescribable pain & suffering it can cause, with no closure or resolution readily available, it does not matter in those moments if you miraculously knew that there’d be a resolution in a few months, even years, and that all would be well again.
When you have depression or are caring for someone with depression & other mental illnesses, a second truly feels like an hour, an hour like a day, a day like a week, a week like a month and a month like a year. Time drags and you find yourself doing that one thing that I never like to do – wishing time away – like really super-speeding it on! Just so that you can say that you all survived another day.
But life is meant for living & thriving, not just surviving.
I can’t remember how the idea or thought came to me, but around the time of Dad’s second suicide attempt, I ended up researching Euthanasia. Google’s dictionary description was spot on: the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.
Painless killing – great. Patient suffering – yes, immensely so. Painful disease – yes, an excruciating & indescribable one.
I hope that you never have to feel that desperate & despairing. It’s a feeling beyond awful, and one that’s often hard to admit. But when there‘s no quick fix, or maybe no fix at all, and there’s so much suffering, you understandably just want to do anything that means your loved one will be at peace. It honestly seemed like the best possible solution for all of us at the time.
Having your father repeatedly confide in you and speak with such frustration & desperation at wanting to be able to go to bed & not wake up the next day feels like such a huge responsibility to bear.
While I‘m glad that Dad could talk to me & share this with me, I felt so torn between doing what I’d always thought to be right, and wanting to help him fulfil his wishes when no-one else would. And after weeks of trying to convince him otherwise, I finally started to give in and believe that it was perhaps the only option myself.
I thought I could cope losing Pops this way because he’d be at peace; we’d be able to do a proper goodbye; I’d been to Switzerland before with one of my dearest friends and couldn’t help but think there was no better place to say goodbye than somewhere so naturally beautiful; clean; pure; rich; full of intelligent & well-educated people who’d know what they were doing; and kind & compassionate souls who’d take good care of us both.
I think a lot of us hope that when the time comes, it’ll be pain-fre