A statement from Evans Mott, who was was discharged without conviction yesterday for helping his wife to die and end her suffering from MS.
On December 28 after nearly four and a half years of pain and trauma, Rosie, my wife and soul mate, took her own life to end her suffering.
Before she became ill, Rosie was a carefree, happy friend and lover. She was full of life - an inspiring and wonderful person for her children and her friends. She was strong, with a big heart. She cared and was a treasured and trusted confidant to many.
Mentally, Rosie did not want to die - she wanted to live a long and full life. Physically she had run out of options.
She did not want publicity to be an issue. She did what she had to do privately. She did not want to be a campaigner. She wanted relief - not to be a burden to those she loved, though she would never have been to us who loved her.
Rosie died in her own time, by her own hand and sadly alone. This is not how she would have chosen to end her life. She insisted on dying in those circumstances, to prevent those who she loved from being legally implicated or liable. She never wanted that and would be sad to see that she failed despite her sacrifices.
The only I regret I have is that I and her family and friends could not have been there with her at her passing as she wished. Neither Rosie, I or any of her family and friends feel this is right or fair.
I believe we are in the right and that, despite our current laws that preclude this, the law has lost touch with the modern and the caring world in which we live. We feel that in a just and benevolent society, people in Rosie's situation should have the opportunity to die at home, surrounded by the people they love and who love them. They should be assisted by professionals using proven methods of quick and painless release. We legislate such a regimen for our beloved pets, yet preclude it for our own loved ones.
Regardless of the fact that Rosie had to die in such circumstances, I am still being held criminally responsible for supporting her decision. What kind of system expects you to turn your back on your loved one in such a time of need? Sadly, ours does. This is a problem - one that causes heartache, misery and needless suffering.
As it stands the system does not safeguard people from becoming victims, but creates victims of caring people. This is not just my problem - it is a community problem. Ultimately it's everyone's problem.
Charging and bringing before our criminal courts otherwise good and hardworking citizens already dealing with the loss and grief of losing their loved ones is not an answer or a deterrent. Neither is convicting someone and penalising them. Why has supporting someone in constant untreatable pain, who chooses to end it in the only way possible, been deemed criminal? Why is being there for someone who is suffering intolerably worthy of incarceration and stigma?
Despite the humiliation and further misery this process causes, it will not deter loved ones from honouring and supporting their family when they need them most. Those suffering deserve the choice of release from the endless, pointless pain and trauma.
Ignoring this problem will not make it disappear. From my point of view the issue comes down to what should be a basic human right. For someone who is mentally sound and is suffering from an intolerable, incurable and hopeless condition, there should be the choose to end the suffering in a loving and dignified way.
Rosie wanted this and sought such relief. I loved her and accepted her decision. I supported her, as she would have me if I were suffering. Such was our love.
I would like to explain that I'm not resentful about the situation as it stands. Rosie suffered four and a half years of home detention with no end to her sentence while she lived. She was in continual pain and constant suffering, There was no possibility of a cure or remission. The only certainty was that things would get worse.
My six months before the court and any said-to-be punitive sentence for my help to her is nothing in comparison. The lost income I have experienced to date from being unable to work is something that might have been and can be remedied. It is not that important to me, as long as I can get back to my work overseas. It is, after all, past history now.
I've been luckier than most in my situation. I have the opportunity to spend six months working for Mike Viatli the owner of ONE 10 boat painters at Gulf Harbour for a breakeven income. Knowing my situation, he went out of his way to offer my a job when he had no idea what I could do to justify his offer (I'm not a boat painter). To have repaid his generosity and trust by working hard and successfully for him has been, in the end, a win/win scenario and I'm glad to have done it. He has been a real friend in need and I appreciate his support and assistance.
I would like to thanks the numerous others who have been sympathetic and supportive too. The support I have received from family, friends and the wider community has been strengthening and encouraging through these difficult times.
I feel that these trying times have been my penance for not being able to save Rosie. Logically, I know I can't work miracles. Emotionally though I feel that I let her down and that I should have found the miracle cure. But no-one has for MS, not yet.
In the end, if I have to pay a price for being true to Rosie and honest about it then so be it. I have to live with my conscience and I know I did what was right by Rosie.
Rosie's family, friends and I still feel her presence. We will always do so. Yesterday would have been her 56th birthday. We all miss you Rosie.
If some good is to come from this process or the price I must pay for my love and support, I hope that it is that some change for the better can be achieved - that those who are suffering have the ability to choose a merciful and peaceful passing surrounded and supported by those who love them. This would be a fitting legacy for someone who was so unbelievably brave, courageous and inspirational to so many people.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you wear a lifejacket when you are on the water - no matter what vessel you are in?