‘I held his hand as he drank the fatal dose’: the day my husband chose to die

Liesl Graz at home in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian

When Gerard began to be seriously ill, he insisted: “I don’t want to leave you with a mess to clear up.” He was dependent on frequent blood transfusions. A controversial antibiotic used to treat a serious lung infection had destroyed his mountaineer’s sense of balance. Walking, even with a crutch, was difficult and painful. He had signs of prostate cancer. Cardiac decompensation was making him increasingly breathless.
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