“I am not committing suicide”:
Leading academic’s final blog entry before ending her life
13 Jan 2014 19:55
Former Arts Council chief Frances Medley left a blog entry before ending her life with banned drugs from China after suffering from multiple sclerosis
A leading academic left a tragic blog titled “A Sophisticated Sign Off” after deciding to end her suffering, an inquest has heard.
Former Arts Council chief Frances Medley, 44, left instructions with her closest friends to update her blog explaining why she had “decided to call it a day”.
Ms Medley was found dead at her home after battling Multiple Sclerosis for eight years.
Her posthumous blog said: “The prospect of further rapid deterioration was both terrifying and not one I wanted to entertain.
“I decided to end my life in a manner and at a time of my choosing.
“I am very clear that, whilst the law might say otherwise, I AM NOT COMMITTING SUICIDE.”
Ms Medley, who was the acting chief executive of the Arts Council in Wales, had kept a blog called Victorious Endeavours about her fight against MS.
An inquest heard her body was discovered in her home in Barry after neighbours became worried they hadn’t seen her for two days.
Cardiff Coroner’s Court heard worried neighbours found a note in the front door window saying: “Do not enter. Please call the police and call my brother Mark.”
Officers forced entry and discovered Ms Medley’s body in bed and her “extremely tidy” house prepared with labels saying what items she wanted people to have.
Ms Medley explained her reasons for ending her life in the blog post titled “A Sophisticated Sign Off”.
She said: “The loss of my independence both financially and physically has been extremely difficult for me.
“Without the financial support of my immediate family, I would have had to seek the support of the state.
“Whilst of course I was entitled to resort to this I found the prospect humiliating. Pride is a terrible thing, a real burden at times of need.”
In the blog she said the illness had exhausted her emotionally and physically.
But her farewell post revealed Ms Medley felt she had peaked early in life.
She said: “I don’t leave with rafts of regrets or things I wish I’d done.
“Happy with my lot is perhaps an exaggeration but had I persisted, my ability to do things would have been daily reduced; my potential it seems has been fulfilled.”
And she gave this advice as a parting message on the blog: “Live life as though it could be snatched away from you in a heartbeat; take managed risks avoiding recklessness; and treat your fellow travellers with tenderness and care.
“Hold your tongue at times when you risk blurting out judgemental potentially hurtful comments; we seldom know the full back story.”
Ms Medley was one of the leading lights of the Welsh arts scene.
She later became a freelance business consultant for the creative sector and was involved in the National Youth Arts Wales Steering Group and the Magdalena Project, which supports women in theatre and the arts.
Ms Medley was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005 and her GP Dr James Martin told the inquest she had suffered a great deal of pain “which simply got too much for her bear”.
Coroner Christopher Wooley told the inquest: “Frances Medley was obviously a very determined lady who did well in her career.
“For eight years she suffered with Multiple Sclerosis which had been worsening.
“Her GP said it was difficult to control Frances’s pain and various therapies were attempted and none were really very effective.
“She was a very strong character and highly intelligent. Her life was beginning to contract and she found the burden hard to bear.”
The coroner recorded a verdict that Ms Medley ended her own life.
Speaking after the inquest, friend and colleague Gilly Adams said: “Fran was a remarkable woman who demonstrated great courage and determination.
“She was a very much loved and respected member of the arts community in Wales.”
Her brother Mark said: “She will be sorely missed by everybody.”
Frances Medley’s full blog post:
“Well dear readers, the Spinster has decided to call it a day; Cruella has simply exhausted me emotionally and physically.
“The prospect of further rapid deterioration was both terrifying and not one I wanted to entertain.
“The Spinster decided to end her life in a manner and at a time of my choosing; I am very clear that, whilst the law might say otherwise, I AM NOT COMMITTING SUICIDE.
“It has been just over eight years since the Spinster was given the unwelcome gift of a chronic incurable degenerative disease; one that would destroy my life slowly at first and then in leaps and bounds.
“In just over 10 years this Spinster went from being a higher rate tax payer responsible for running a public body – (as an aside I believe I was the youngest woman to do this at the age of 30) – to a position last year where I didn’t earn enough to pay tax.
“The loss of my independence both financially and physically has been extremely difficult for me.
“Without the financial support of my immediate family I would have had to seek the support of the State. Whilst of course I was entitled to resort to this I found the prospect humiliating.
“Pride is a terrible thing, a real burden at times of need.
“The Spinster fortunately peaked early on life and so I don’t leave with rafts of regrets or things I wish I’d done.
“Happy with my lot is perhaps an exaggeration but had the Spinster persisted my ability to do things would have been daily reduced; my potential it seems has been fulfilled.
“The values by which the Spinster has conducted her life are clarity, integrity and wisdom with curiosity and creativity added in for Victorious Endeavours.
“These principles have served the Spinster well as I am leaving this mortal coil with a clear conscience albeit with a limited bank balance! Integrity is not a road paved with gold!!
“So live life as though it could be snatched away from you in a heartbeat, take managed risks avoiding recklessness and treat your fellow travellers with tenderness and care.
“Hold your tongue at times when you risk blurting out judgemental potentially hurtful comments; we seldom know the full back story.
“Good bye and good luck ladies (and fellow male travellers too).”
“The Spinster signs off with sophistication.”
* Anyone in need of help or support should contact HOPELineUK tel 0800 068 41 41 text 07786 209 697 email firstname.lastname@example.org. The charity has a team of mental health professionals to give practical help and advice – what to say and do – to young people and others concerned about them.
You’re never alone…
Realize Peace of Mind : National MS Society
You’re never alone…
Realize Peace of Mind : National MS Society
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