A Film by Frances Medley
On 13 January the inquest was held into the death of Frances Medley. The conclusion was that she had ‘ended her life at a time and in the manner of her own choosing.’ The word suicide was never mentioned. Fran would have been pleased as that was the distinction she wanted to make herself.
Fran made the decision to end her own life a long time before she carried it out in September. She prepared meticulously for what she was going to do, including making a film in which she explained the reasons behind her decision. Initially this film was intended for those who knew her but perhaps did not know her innermost thoughts – those who would want to understand ‘why?’ To that effect one of Fran’s last wishes was that the film would be shown at her funeral; and indeed it was, at her wake at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on 7th Oct 2013, to a profoundly moved audience.
In the film Fran describes how her MS was taking away ‘the essence of who she was’ through chronic pain, increasing irrecoverable loss of mobility and progressive degeneration, all of which was ultimately leading her to need the care of others – a road which she refused to take. Added to this – and exacerbated by it – was the poor management of her health by the NHS, which she chronicled well in this blog.
Many at her funeral, as well as Fran’s family and close friends, feel this film is an extremely powerful account of what Fran and others in her position go through. It was always Fran’s wish that anything in her life and death should be useful to others, and it is with that in mind that this film is being given a larger audience now. We hope that it will form part of a larger discussion about end of life and healthcare for those with incurable conditions. It also stands as a testament to this particular woman’s great courage, personal power and dignity
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