Dame Esther Rantzen’s daughter: ‘Why can’t we die the way we want to?’

Dame Esther Rantzen’s daughter: ‘Why can’t we die the way we want to?’
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 20/12/2023

- 13:11

The daughter of Dame Esther Rantzen, Rebecca Wilcox, has spoken movingly about said her mother's comments on assisted dying.

Speaking to Patrick Christys on GB News she said:

“I have gone back and forth about it a lot. Obviously, I want her to live forever; that is what she originally promised us. Her parents lived to 90 and 93 and we thought we had another decade with her.

“She has always made brilliant decisions, not necessarily the easy ones. And I think this is another brilliant decision. I support her choice to make this decision. It's a very difficult wording to be able to get away with because you need to be able to say what you feel without incriminating yourself and how ridiculous is that?

“I've heard that family members have said goodbye to each other at airports because they cannot get on the plane with them, and they cannot go to Dignitas or whichever place it is. I think the fact my mum's a terrible traveller, she's ever so nervous, so doing that journey by herself, that's just an impossibility for me.

“But if I or my sister or brother or anyone else, sat by her, held her hand, went to the place with her, held her hand, waited for the awful moment, and then stayed with her till afterwards and then transported her body home, we would most likely be arrested.

“And not everybody gets prosecuted. The Crown Court say it's a ridiculous situation and these people shouldn't be prosecuted but they have to under UK law because there are a few people out there who are evil and willing to manipulate these situations for their game.

“Not to sound ridiculous about it, but they're ruining it for everybody because we all live the lives that we want to live to a point; why can't we die the way we want to die?

“We're a horribly open family, which is quite shocking for visitors. We talk about everything, and there's no line. Sometimes people wish there was a line.

“So, politics, sex, death, we've talked about it all. I know exactly where I was conceived. I wish I didn’t. But this is the latest taboo that we are discussing.

“We have all marched into every single oncology appointment with mum: my brother, sister and I. We go as a group. She feels a bit embarrassed by it and introduces us as her entourage.

“So we all know as much as she knows about what's going on. She has stage four lung cancer, which means that it is in several different places, which means it's untreatable, which means it's terminal, but at the moment there’s a little pause, so that's what we know.

“When we've asked about timings it’s all been quite fudged because there are so many variables involved that they're not able to give us actual specifics. Her oncologist said, ‘Well, I expect you to die between now and 10 years’, which is useless information when you want to do these things.

“That's the other problem with somewhere like Dignitas. You have to be of sound mind to be able to go, you have to be able to have the faculties to be able to get yourself there, which means that she would technically have to go before she was ill enough to do such a thing like assist her own death.

“As this wonderful lady, Dr Davies said, who supports assisted dying; she said we're outsourcing death to Switzerland and they don't do it very well over there.

"Obviously we don't want her to die, we want her to live forever. She's managed to break many glass ceilings but mortality, unfortunately not.

“Am I alright with assisted dying? I am alright with a person's right to choose as long as that is their choice and there is no outside influence. That every single possible method of sustaining life has been taken.

“ I don't think that it should be for people who are depressed. I don't think it should be for mental illness. I am not an expert on this, this is literally just my opinion.

“I think if you have a terminal diagnosis of a physical illness and you are facing a terrible death like motor neurone why wouldn't you take a kinder, gentler death?

“For somebody that's been so honest and open and been on all the reality shows where you bare your soul, she's very, very private about how she is so basically we live scan to scan.

“It's not great. Living with cancer is not fun. It's tiring, knowing that you have cancer, it's tiring, physically, living with cancer.

“She has been the person with more energy than I have ever known in my whole life and it is interesting and awful to see this stage of her life. But we've got a Christmas we never thought we were going to have. When she was diagnosed back in January, we thought she wouldn't make it to Christmas. So we’ve gone nuts for Christmas. I've got trees and lights and baubles and presents and stars everywhere. Father Christmas is leaving many stockings.

“We've got three elves on the shelves and it's all going nuts and it's all for her and I can't wait.”


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