The Mirror Has Collected Tweets About How To Die: Simon’s Choice
They are also running a poll on assisted dying.
They say the programme left viewers in tears. It left me in tears too. My tears were for Debbie Binner, the loving wife and mother who was not given a choice in losing her daughter, whose life ended naturally because of cancer. Who then eventually sacrificed her personal beliefs to let the husband she so clearly loved use his own mind on this extremely serious issue.
My tears were for Simon Binner- the man who had such a loving wife and family to live for, who still decided to end his own life because he feared severe disability.
The same severe disability that Stephen Hawking, one of the most intelligent men on Earth, has lived with for over 50 years.
He feared using nappies. He feared losing his ability to write. He feared that when he could no longer write he would lose his ability to communicate.
He didn’t know the beauty of nonverbal communication. He said he could speak four languages, verbally. But he didn’t know that he could have made himself understood so clearly through facial expressions and reactions, if he had only tried. He didn’t see me understanding his reaction to his wife’s pain when she was being interviewed about why she didn’t want him to have an assisted death.
The life he faced, the life he feared, is the life my friends with Cerebral Palsy have lived for the best part of 30 years. That is how I know the beauty of nonverbal communication.
The life he faced, the life he feared, is the life I have lived, with Cerebral Palsy, for the best part of 30 years. That is how I know that the need for support with personal care is not a negative thing- unless you make it one.
Regular readers will know that I am personally very strongly against assisted dying. The reasons why are listed above. I have lived with severe disability. I have valued others living with severe disability. I have been valued and I have been taught to value my own life.
At one point he compared himself to his beautiful, beloved pet dog. Yet he was not an animal. He was a human, and I strongly believe, as much as I love my own pets, that human lives are worth far more than animal lives.
Most people who are born with their disability, as my friends and I were, never know any different. I wish people who become disabled later in life would be told strongly that their lives are still very valuable and given support to live full lives while accepting the limits of disability.
The wish for a right to die comes from how mainstream society views disability and disabled people- as negative, worth less and less than human.
I wish that would change so that disabled and terminally ill people would not need to wish to die sooner than they have to.