Martha Sepúlveda planned to end her life on Sunday, October 10 at 7 in the morning.
She was seen laughing in front of the cameras eating patacón with guacamole and drinking beer in a restaurant in Medellín, even though she was facing death.
He was happy precisely because he managed to get the court to give him authorization to undergo euthanasia.
However, the procedure was canceled at the last minute, as reported in a statement on October 8 by the Colombian Pain Institute, the clinical center where it was to be performed.
According to the statement, the Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee for the Right to Die with Dignity “concluded unanimously to cancel the procedure” by determining that “the termination criterion is not met as had been considered in the first committee” that evaluated his case.
Three months later, Martha’s wish has been fulfilled. After a long journey that included a legal battle, this Saturday, January 8, he managed to be euthanized.
In Colombia euthanasia It was decriminalized in 1997, but only became law in 2015. Since then, 157 procedures have been performed.
But last July, the Constitutional Court of the country extended the right to a dignified death to those who suffer “intense physical or mental suffering” due to an injury or incurable illness.
And that of Martha Sepúlveda was the first case in which euthanasia was authorized in a patient who does not have a terminal illness.
Since she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a serious and incurable disease, her life had been turned into torment.
How did you know that yours was going to be a slow and painful death spanning several years, the future seemed heartbreaking.
Until one day he told Federico, his only 22-year-old son, that he wanted to fight for his euthanasia. And at first he succeeded.
Paradoxically, getting death brought him back to life.
“My mother is calm and happy since they told her that she could die because her life was literally hell,” her son told BBC Mundo before the last minute cancellation is known.
“I have good luck,” said Martha Sepúlveda in her last television interview with Caracol TV. “I laugh more, I sleep more calmly.”
“I am a Catholic person, I consider myself a very, very believer. But God doesn’t want to see me suffer. “
“With lateral sclerosis in the state that I have it, the best thing that can happen to me is that I go to rest.”
This is the testimony of his son, Federico Redondo Sepúlveda, told to BBC Mundo in the first person on last Thursday, October 7.
My mom was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in late 2018.
She took it in a rather particular way. His reaction was to laugh. He said “see, I have this disease and I will die in three years.” But he said it in a very funny way, very funny, making jokes.
My mom has always been a very open person to death. She has always said “I am not afraid to leave, but to the way I am going to leave”, which is precisely why she sought to be recognized by the right to a dignified death.
She did not conceive of bedridden life. The end of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is without being able to speak, without being able to swallow … it is something extremely painful and unworthy for her.
The diagnosis was taken very olympically. Later, he began to lose strength in his legs, requiring support to walk more or less long distances. Later I required support for all types of walks even inside the house.
And earlier this year she began to require support to go to the bathroom. Then you had to bathe her, you had to dress her. Sometimes eating or brushing was difficult because her hands were losing too much strength.
The worst thing for her is seeing how she deteriorated to the point that she cannot be independent for the most basic of daily activities.
One day she told me: “It would be so good if I could request euthanasia.” And so I didn’t take it very seriously.
But when he told me he wanted to do it, I was in denial for a few days. I would say, “no, not my mom, not yet.” Was saying, “Mommy, please no.”
I consider myself a very liberal person, I thought that the right to euthanasia is a right that must be protected, but I never saw it as something close.
But then later, becoming a little aware of the precarious condition in which she was, and of her despair, and of the unworthiness in which she was, I said: “I think I show my love more if I support her in this decision that she made.”
I do need my mother and I want her to be with me in any condition. But in that case I would only be thinking about myself, about my needs.
We have been together for 22 years. My life revolved around her and hers around me. After your departure, I will have to invent another life. That’s why it was so difficult at first.
When I took care of her, she had mixed feelings. On the one hand I liked it, because I felt that I was returning to my mother, in some way, all the support and everything that she has done for me throughout my life.
But I was also thinking about what she was saying to me. He told me: “Son, this is not life, this is not worthy.”
Clearly I am sad. I’m clearly anxious, clearly I’m … desperate in some way. It would be very strange if it was not.
But I am also somewhat comforted by the fact that my mom was able to end her life the way she wanted.
The day and time that she wanted.
From a young age she said that she never wanted to be bedridden, absolutely dependent at all times.
We agree that to live is to decide And since sclerosis began to physically condition my mother, she can no longer decide for herself.
Many people are surprised because they see her very calm and very happy.
My mom is calm and happy since they told her she could die, because her life was literally hell. She was not like that before. Before I was desperate, sad and with little hope for the future.
But now, my mom is going to die on sunday at 7 in the morning. And he is happy. He is happy since he knows that the euthanasia procedure is going to be applied to him.
On Sunday there will be a cremation, a Eucharist will be celebrated and … and that’s it, because basically that is what he wants.
I’m going to miss her a lot. I believe that there is nothing that I will not miss, because nothing will ever be the same. Any.
From his smile and his cockerel and his good attitude to the good and bad in life … to his scolding.
I will need everything.