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Interview 18

Age at interview: 74
Age at diagnosis: 72
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with bladder cancer and prostate cancer in 2001, followed by transurethral resections in 2001 and 2002, and then a prostatectomy and cystectomy (removal of bladder) and urostomy in 2002.
Background: National Trust Historic Buildings Representative (retired), married, 2 children

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He believes in life after death and thinks that we should pray for the grace to have no fear.

He believes in life after death and thinks that we should pray for the grace to have no fear.

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Well because I believe in the after life and I say I believe in it, but I pray to believe in it. I pray for the grace to believe in it. I pray for a deepening of faith all the time. Well, I say all the time, but I mean that is what I do when I pray, which is not nearly as much as I should do. But I pray for the trust and belief that this life is a prelude to the after life and that the after life is what counts.  

Do you think that helps you, and other people who feel like... that have a more accepting, positive attitude to serious illness and the prospect of dying?

Yes, yes, absolutely.

Can you explain that a bit more?

Well if one believes, and one has to pray for this belief because none of our belief is, except for saints, as strong as it should be, and as trusting as it should be, but if you accept that there is an almighty God who created the heavens and earth and everything in it, and that almighty God is a loving God and loves each one of us and that his son came down to this earth and redeemed us all and rose again so that we should have eternal life then one prays for the belief that one should accept and learn to trust and, and have joy in the love of God and that his will is what is best for all of us.

Do you think that can help people who have got that kind of belief to feel less fearful when they have a serious illness?

Yes, yes, yes I think it can, but as I was saying, I think we all need to pray more for the grace to have no fear. 

I mean, of course, it's natural that we should have fear and that's why one needs to pray more. Hand everything over.

 

Thinks that both a “living will” and euthanasia mean that life may be shortened artificially and...

Thinks that both a “living will” and euthanasia mean that life may be shortened artificially and...

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Have you any particular opinion about what people call a 'living will'?  Have you heard of that term?

Yes I have.

Could you tell me what you think about it?

Well, I can understand it but I think I believe in the teaching of my church that it's not acceptable.

How would you define a living will?

Ah, a living will is an instruction or perhaps not instructions but agreement to those who... giving authority rather, to those who are looking after a patient that if the patient feels that life is no longer worth living or bearable to end that patient's life. 

So you wouldn't ever think of making one for yourself?

I would hope not, no.

Because of your religious beliefs.

Yes, yes.

And there is a big debate now on nationally, and internationally about a related subject. Some people call it euthanasia, some people call it assisted suicide.  What do you think of that?

Well, I can't... I mean... maybe there is a difference but I think living wills and euthanasia are the same thing.  Yes.

All the same. And so your view is influenced by...

I suppose euthanasia is slightly... More... the carers, or relations or whatever it is making the decision rather than the patient.  But the end result is the same that life is terminated artificially.

And you would be against that because of the faith you've got?

Yes, yes

So all the discussions about it becoming a national policy as it is in some countries such as the Netherlands, what do you think should be the main points in the debate in our country?

I think morally and ethically it's wrong... It's easy for anybody who is not suffering enormous pain, incurable pain because I believe there are some pains that are... can't be conquered by medicine. It's easy for somebody else to say that. Good comes out of pain. Good comes out of suffering. I think it does.

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