This certainly is a story of love, death and the law as it stands in New Zealand in our right to choose when we die and to surround our death with dignity. At this point in time, it isn’t for us to choose, that is out of our hands.
Lecretia and Matt Vickers were trailblazers: raised in down-to-earth homes where education was valued, they took their opportunities and made the best of them. After meeting and marrying, the world really did appear to be their oyster but life can have twists and turns, some kind and generous, others not so much. Matt and Lecretia wanted children and when it didn’t happen naturally, they turned to IVF, to no avail. A series of nasty headaches sent Lecretia on the path to what turned out to be the diagnosis of Brain Cancer, and the terminality of this cancer opened a door that many wished would stay shut.
Lecretia had seen death, it wasn’t pretty, and more than anything Lecretia wanted to die with dignity, she wanted to make her own choices, without depending on others. Her choices would allow her to say goodbye to her loved ones as she wished, Lecretia didn’t want to suffer unnecessarily. Dependence on others for pain control and the basics of life was, to Matt and Lecretia, a ghastly way to end ones life; and so they began to fight, not just for themselves but for others who might find themselves in the same position. It was a hard battle, one taken to the High Court, to seek a pathway for herself and others to die with dignity. The Ethics of Assisted Dying are complicated and rigorous in their application. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, a mother, father or husband – if you help someone to die in New Zealand, you can be prosecuted.
Sadly Lecretia did not win her battle, and the fight continues.
This book is a marvellous example of what love can do and a testimony to the spirit of resilience. It isn’t always an easy read but it is a great retelling of a life well-lived and of the courage that allowed Matt and Lecretia to step outside of themselves at the most difficult time in their lives, and stand tall for their beliefs.
Reviewed by Marion Dreadon
by Matt Vickers
Published by Text Publishing