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Great-Grandma With Dementia Writes Moving Letter Before Taking Life

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By Afza Fathima | August 29, 2014 3:14 PM EST

An elderly woman, Gillian Bennett, born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and suffering from dementia decided to take her own life on Aug 25, reported Daily Mail

Reuters
One in five foreign visitors to Swiss assisted-suicide clinics are Britons

Gillian, 85-year-old great-grandmother, who lived in Bowen Island in Canada along with her husband Jonathan Bennett, wrote a moving letter explaining the reasons for her decision.

AT the beginning of the letter, she wrote that she will take her life around noon as it was time.

She wrote, "Dementia is taking its toll and I have nearly lost myself. I have nearly lost me. Jonathan, the straightest and brightest of men, will be at my side as a loving witness."

The heartbreaking letter, spanning around 2,000 words, gave details of the crippling effect that the disease had on her life and on her family and friends as well as the healthcare system of Canada. She is survived by her husband, two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She explained her suicide by saying that she wasn't giving up anything that she wanted and that all she was losing was a number of years as a vegetable in a hospital where she would be eating up the money from the country, not having an idea as to who she was. 

On Aug 27, Jonathan Bennet told NZ Herald that his wife's death happened very quickly. He said that after half an hour, her eyes were open, but her chest was not moving. After another half an hour, he called the doctor and the police.

Assisted suicide is illegal in Canada and other parts of the world, and so Mr. Bennett was faced with the difficulty of not being able to assist her. His comfort factor was the fact that he was by his wife's side for about six decades.

Her letter ended with a peaceful statement that she was going cheerfully and thankfully into the night and that she needed nothing more than her husband surrounding her for company.

The piece published in New Zealand Herald has attracted a lot of support for Mrs Bennett.  But when there is support, there is also criticism with a few people suggesting that this is a "glamourised suicide" and could spark interest for copycat deaths.

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(Photo: Reuters / Reuters File)
One in five foreign visitors to Swiss assisted-suicide clinics are Britons
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