An ex-soldier has managed to find the light in death, sharing his sense of humour with his Facebook friends moments before committing assisted suicide.
David Nigel Casson, 62, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, had lived a full and happy life – he once reportedly arrested IRA boss Martin McGuiness during his service – but after a decade-long battle with Motor Neurone disease (MNd), David decided to end his own suffering.
According to her husband’s wishes, Julie Casson explained his decision to friends and family on his social media, writing: “I’ve been ‘dying’ to post this! Ha ha ha ha ha!! Thank you and goodbye.”
The ex-soldier, Nigel to his friends, explained his decision, quoted as saying:
It gives me great joy, today, to announce that I have found the one and only cure for MNd, but it is with great sadness that it means I have had to go to Dignitas in Zurich to end my life.
I would like to thank all my Facebook friends for their support and friendship since I joined in 2008, one year into this cruel illness. You have been a tremendous support to me throughout the ten years of this illness. It is such a shame that the laws of this country prevent me from doing this in my own home.
My decision was arrived at because I wanted to take back control of my life and take the victory of killing me away from this disease. I wanted to die while I am happy and can still smile and not be controlled by this wicked disease any longer. I wanted to die with dignity instead of being tortured.
Before Nigel left his parting comedic quip on his now-memorialised Facebook page, he concluded:
Some people may think it’s the easy way out but believe me it’s not easy to leave your loving family and friends.
The ex-soldier had previously served in the British Army as an infantryman in the Duke of Wellington’s regiment during the 1970s.
He was stationed on the front line during the turbulent times in Ireland, fighting the IRA in Belfast.
After three years, he retired due to family commitments and became a scaffolder.
Nigel married and fathered three children before he was diagnosed with MNd – a progressive disease that attacks the nerves in your brain and spine, leaving the sufferer totally debilitated – 10 years ago in 2007.
Despite battling for a decade, his doting wife explained Nigel made this somewhat controversial choice so as not to be ‘entombed in his own body’.
He talked about it right at the beginning when he was first diagnosed but then put it to the back of his mind. ‘But he did say that when the time was right that he would pursue it. Last August when he decided he was going to pursue it he felt himself becoming significantly weaker.
He was having days where he was becoming dispirited. He was conscious if he didn’t go while he physically could he would miss an opportunity. He didn’t want to get to a stage where he was unable to speak or unable to communicate his feelings and frustrations, and feel tombed within his own body.
She recalled his deteriorating condition, saying:
By the end he needed help with everything. We had a team of carers giving him round the clock care. He relied on a wheelchair for the last seven years. His limbs were becoming extremely weak, he needed help with everything such as feeding, personal care showering and going to the toilet.
He was completely disabled but managed to keep his spirit. Because of his immobility and disability he found comfort in using Facebook, it kept him in touch with the world. He could still manage to touch the screen but also had eye gaze technology to help him.
Speaking of of her late husband, Julie said he ‘joked and laughed everyday’ and was ‘an inspiration’ to all he met.
Despite being given three to five years to live when he was diagnosed, David Casson battled for a decade, with admirable bravery, warmth and an unfailing sense of humour.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.