VALE Raymond Grant Godbold

Sadly Ray has passed away.

It is sad for many reasons: sad because he is missed by family and friends, sad because of how he endured his last days, sad because he was unable to leave under his own steam.

Good on you Ray!  Hold that head high, your body may have let you down but not your mind.

You taught us all that the end is not easy, its not black and white.

You taught us dignity and opened our eyes.

VALE Raymond Grant Godbold

theage-raygodbold

Family mourns Ray, father, husband and Dying with Dignity campaigner

The family sat together at the kitchen table in Inverloch, sad but smiling, and ready to speak about Raymond Grant Godbold, who died a week ago.

It was here, after all, that the professional palliative care nurse and amateur gourmand had served them so many meals in his 59 years. He would present his wife, Robyn, and children Tara, Ella and Rory with pappadums and dhal, a delicate Florentine, or some other dish made with his favourite simmering base of oil, garlic and chilli.

Ray, a Dying with Dignity campaigner , was comfortable talking about the end. He did so several times in the pages of The Age, including publicly revealing that he had sourced the illegal and lethal drug Nembutal.

He spoke to anyone who would listen to his plea that our laws around end-of-life choices need to change. Now his family takes up that cause.

The final month had been tough on Ray, they said. Suffering from terminal gastroesophageal cancer, he could barely eat – let alone cook. A chest infection had floored him, leaving him at times delirious and distressed. He would have clarity one moment then be spun into confusion the next.

In a ‘‘ hidey hole’’ , he had his lifeending medication, procured from controversial urologist Dr Rodney Syme, but while he remained lucid and loved he saw no need to bring out that brown glass bottle.

‘‘ It’s hard,’’ Robyn said. ‘‘ As much as you talk about it and reason out the process intellectually, ending your life – it’s hard.’’

Ultimately, Ray’s final few days provided another example of the flawed system he wished to challenge . On August 12, the day before he slipped away, he decided to end his life. ‘‘ Give it to me,’’ he said. ‘‘ Get it for me. I’m ready.’’

But the medication is bitter, the dose large, and he was already struggling to keep down liquid or food. What he wanted and what he was capable of were incompatible.

‘‘ It was exactly what he feared,’’ Tara said.

What his grieving family want now is to see people in his position have more choice. Could there have been an intravenous solution?

‘‘ We know it’s not a simple thing,’’ said Tara, his eldest. ‘‘ It’s not black and white, and all situations are different. What we want is choice and control. For him. For us. For everyone.’’

Source: Fairfax Media Konrad Marshall | Senior writer

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