Freo's View



Last night our time my oldest sister Marja died in the Netherlands. She was euthanised.

I am not sharing this with you because of narcissism but because the Western Australian government also want to legalise doctor assisted dying and I believe that is a very humane intent. There are community information sessions and community consultation and a very long online survey that took me 20 minutes, but is worth doing.

I am so grateful that my sister died in her own bed in her own home and with dignity and that she had plenty of time to receive family and friends and say goodbye.

The process she had to go through was lengthy and very thorough before an expert committee decided that she was eligible for euthanasia.

Legalising assisted dying is about giving people a choice instead of forcing them to commit suicide in awful and very lonely ways. It should not be politicised or being kidnapped by religious leaders.

There is no threat to religious or cultural values. No one can be forced to be euthanised and neither can doctors be forced to administer it. In my sister’s case her new doctor-the old one had retired-told her it was too early in his young career to feel comfortable assisting her so she was referred to an older colleague.

My sister Marja was assessed on her health and mental health by different practitioners who wrote reports which were considered by an independent panel. There was nothing easy or flippant about that process and not at all what some panel members at last year’s Notre Dame university forum claimed.

Call me an old cynic, but it comes as no surprise to me that the billion dollar age care industry and the billion dollar palliative care industry are against euthanasia, and so are those who believe that only a god can take a life. For those of us who are not religious the promise of heaven, paradise or nirvana is irrelevant, but euthanasia is our pragmatic and humane choice if life is coming to a painful, slow and unstoppable end. We don’t let animals suffer, so why not apply the same compassion to human beings.

It is astounding how unprepared we are for death. It is the elephant in the room that not many people want to talk about. We are not taught how to deal with it, so at the end we try to deal with it the best we can with empathy. I was lucky to be able to Skype with my sister often over the last couple of months and that was good for both of us.

Marja was just three years older than I am and was always there for me. She had inoperable cancer. I am so grateful that she was allowed to die with dignity. All her pain and worries are now over.

Roel Loopers

11 Responses

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  1. ANDREW said, on April 1, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I totally agree with your views Roel.


  2. glencowansGlen said, on March 30, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    So sorry for your loss Roel.
    Could not agree with you more, we need to address this issue as soon as possible.
    Glen & Louise


  3. freoview said, on March 29, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Yes I hope the WA government will soon legislate doctor assisted dying here as well, Jane.



  4. Jane said, on March 29, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I am sorry for your loss but extremely envious that your sister chose the manner & time of her death. She died well, as they say.


  5. Suzanne said, on March 28, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Dear Roel, I offer my sincere condolences over your sadness.
    You wrote a beautiful piece.
    Wonderful memories to you of your beloved sister Marja.


  6. Sam said, on March 28, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Please accept my condolences Roel. I also agree with your views and dare say most Australians would as well.


  7. Lionel said, on March 28, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Agree with everything you wrote. Sorry to hear of your loss but happy that she got to make her own choices.


  8. Sean said, on March 28, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Condolences Roel.


  9. Carl said, on March 28, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for those thoughts Roel, well put.
    My mum has Alzheimers; and needs secure care with 24 hr supervision. She is happy enough, although often frustrated and confused. Many in her home are far worse.
    My views align with yours. We don’t manage death very well in Oz.


  10. bigjulie said, on March 28, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Empathy to you… treasure her strength to fortify you.


  11. Rochelle said, on March 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Beautifully written Roel, agreed and thanks for sharing. My thoughts are with you.
    Sincere regards, Rochelle x


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