Flora Lormier’s life and death has opened an important discourse about a person’s right to die, but her experience shouldn’t be perceived as something that everyone with multiple sclerosis will have to live through.
In case you didn’t catch it in the news, Flora’s family released some heartbreaking images of her ravaged body to try and get the government’s attention. They want the law to change so that people who have no quality of life can decide when to die, allowing them some element of control when they lack this over their own body.
Flora – who’d been diagnosed more than four decades ago – became paralysed from the neck down two years ago and slowly withered away to just skin and bone. There is no doubt that she suffered and that her family were left helpless against this horrendous disease.
I 100% support the right to die argument and I feel like she should have been allowed to end her life on her own terms. At 28 years old, I’ve already told my mum that if I deteriorate due to MS that I would want to die and I would encourage anyone who feels the same to make their wishes known while they can.
While Flora’s story raises some important questions that need to be answered, I feel like someone had to say that her experience isn’t indicative of the life anyone else with MS will have. I know that if I had been newly-diagnosed and had seen her story on the news I would have been devastated for both her and myself.
I would have been convinced that I was seeing my own future in her and I think the shock would have been extremely hard to move on from. Just as every person it affects is unique, the toll MS takes on your body is different for everyone. There will be people who experience a single relapse and the disease never rears its ugly head again and there will be those that never recover from that first relapse.
We don’t have a crystal ball that we can look into and see where we will be in five, ten or fifty years. All we can do is take the time to accept our diagnosis and then carry on with our lives just as we intended to. As clichéd as it sounds, we have to take each day as it comes and be grateful for the days when MS isn’t bothering us.
It’s vital that we don’t think of our lives in terms of just our illness. We have MS, the MS doesn’t have us.