I can't imagine how it must feel to wonder which part of your body might fail on you next, to know that you might not live to the weekend and will never feel the sun on your skin again. Yet, she faces it with a dignity and grace that most of us can't muster when faced with the prospect of a half-hour trip on a weird smelling bus, never mind much else.
I will never regret that our law protected her; preventing her from ending her life when she was vulnerable to despair. Those four years we shared were the most precious gift. Without them, Mum would have missed what she described as some of the richest times in her life and we would have missed understanding just what an amazing person she was.
England has the chance through my Private Member's Bill to improve care. The Bill would require all commissioners to ensure their patient population has access to seven day specialist palliative care services, that patients and their families have a clear point of contact in a crisis, that there is advice available at all times to front line staff caring for dying patients and that such staff have all received core training in good end of life care.
As a young person living with a parent who has a terminal diagnosis, I've discovered a fairly considerable hole in the people-dying-support-system stuff. There is a lot of support out there for children with a close family member who is dying; there is a fair amount of support for spouses and for parents of people who are dying.
Whether it's through writing a will, making financial plans, planning for our future care and support including through making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or deciding whether we want to join the organ donor, all of us can increase the likelihood of getting our wishes met and reduce the chances of life after our death becoming even more difficult for the people we care about.
My facebook timeline was flooded with selfies this morning. Bare-faced, no-filter (ahem) selfies, posted by friends in the name of cancer awareness and asking others to do the same. In my usual bleary-eyed, early morning confusion I couldn't understand why, on a social networking site where most of us scroll mindlessly through the interminable selfies of the people on our friends list every single day, another selfie would help cure cancer.