Rob Beveridge was used to calling the shots as coach of the Illawarra Hawks - but when his dad, John, was diagnosed with terminal cancer he was at a loss.
John made it clear he wanted an assisted death when he became too unwell. It was the one thing his son couldn't offer him.
"Dad said so me 'you're the strong one in the family, when it's time you have to make it happen'," Rob told the Mercury.
"I had to say 'Dad, I can't'."
Rob spoke out about his dad's passing in the hopes that the assisted dying bill currently before NSW Parliament will be passed.
"He died by himself, a withered-up skeleton who spent 11 days in bed without family," Rob said.
"It made me angry, the disgusting lack of compassion."
John Beveridge was a carpenter for 50 years, and although he suffered from emphysema, Rob said he was a fit, strong man.
In July last year he went to hospital after becoming very unwell, where he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
"He was very stubborn," Rob said.
"He wanted to have one more Christmas, then it was one more birthday. I was to come home from overseas in July, and he said 'that's OK, I'll still be here, I'll wait for you'.
"Mentally he was fine, but his body was riddled with cancer."
By the time Rob got home, John could no longer get out of bed by himself, and had entered a hospice.
Rob said the doctors and nurses who cared for his dad were "incredible", but they weren't able to give John the one thing he wanted - a dignified death.
"He was back in nappies at 78," Rob said.
"You could see the pain in his eyes, the embarrassment.
"The doctors and nurses did everything they could to make him comfortable, they were inspirational, but it's still horrific to watch.
"All he wanted was to close his eyes and not wake up.
"There's zero quality of life, he'd lost all dignity, he was not going to get better, and it just dragged on for so long."
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. At first Rob was unable to travel from NSW to see John at his Canberra hospice; then, as the virus entered the ACT, John was allowed no visitors at all.
"It was a nightmare," Rob said.
"If euthanasia was allowed he wouldn't have had to go through that all by himself."
Rob has a strong message for opponents of the assisted dying bill.
"I'm a big believer in choice," he said. "Whether you oppose it for a religious reason or whatever it might be, everyone should be able to make their own choice about their own life. Until you've walked in someone's shoes you shouldn't have the opportunity to judge."
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