Peace at long last for right-to-die campaigner Marie

There has perhaps never been a book that arrived at a point of such poignancy as the autobiography of the courageous right-to-die campaigner Marie Fleming.

Peace at long last for right-to-die campaigner Marie

Marie died in December, nine hours before the book she longed to write came off the presses.

There had been a frantic bid to have it ready for Marie to see in her final hours.

She desperately wanted her work to be prefaced by an author she admired, Anne Enright. Enright’s quote was read to Marie the night before she died.

Marie, who was in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis, had been sick and, the evening after she died, the first copy of her book, An Act of Love, was back from the printers.

Although it had not been possible to get a copy to Marie before she died, her partner, Tom Curran, had been anxious to get it to her.

The writer who helped Marie complete her work, Sue Leonard, delivered the book to the couple’s Wicklow home as soon as she could: “Close to tears, Tom said: ‘All I want to do is to put it in Marie’s hands.’

“He did the next best thing when he placed the book in her coffin, next to her heart.”

Ms Leonard worked with Marie during 2013 to help her tell her story.

Writing in today’s Irish Examiner, Ms Leonard spoke of the enormous impact the ailing UCD lecturer had on her.

And she said Marie had not been afraid of dying and drew strength from an experience she had three years earlier when Tom had resuscitated her.

“I asked her was she afraid of death, and she said, no, not at all,” said Ms Leonard. “She’d almost died three years earlier, and had a near- death experience. She had seen her late father waiting for her, her dead spaniel, Ben, by his side.”

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