“This will be my last tweet. Thank you all for your love. (…) Enjoy my latest morbid meme,” writes Lauren, 28, on the social network X (formerly Twitter). The post is accompanied by a photo of a little boy giving a thumbs up, with the inscription “Me being euthanized”.
A few days earlier, this 28-year-old young woman from the Netherlands had announced to her subscribers that her euthanasia would take place this Saturday, between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
For several years, Lauren Hoeve has been running a blog on which she recounts her fight against myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), a serious neurological disease, with no treatment to date. ME is not fatal but causes symptoms that are very difficult to bear, such as discomfort after exercise, cognitive disorders and even heart problems. This condition is sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome. A term that the young woman, who also suffers from autism, anxiety and ADHD, refutes since she considers that it minimizes the seriousness of the situation.
Active assistance in dying has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002 but euthanasia is governed by strict rules. On her blog, Lauren says she submitted a request for euthanasia in May 2022. She was placed on a waiting list, which was further lengthened due to the pandemic. “If I had registered a little earlier, I might have been part of the 27 club,” writes the young woman, who never misses an opportunity to add touches of humor to her stories, which are nevertheless chilling. . After several months of waiting, Lauren Hoeve was finally seen by several doctors who declared her “mentally competent” and authorized her to be euthanized in April 2023.
In one of the last posts published on her blog, Lauren informed her subscribers of the precise date and time of her euthanasia, even inviting some to attend the “farewell ceremony” on site or via livestream. “Please don’t wish me a safe trip, I wish I had gone on a trip (a beach vacation would be nice),” she wrote, before thanking “everyone who was there for me during my illness. “It doesn’t matter if we know each other well or only for a short time. Thanks to you, I feel less alone and I am grateful to you.”
“My mother’s heart is bleeding”
In a video that Lauren shared on social networks, we see that the young woman, seriously affected, could no longer really leave her house. She spends the majority of her time in bed, enjoying the acrobatics of her two cats. Her parents take care of her.
In a poignant story published on her daughter’s blog, Lauren’s mother, who previously lost her son to bone cancer, says: “How does it feel to me, as a mother, to lose my second child? It’s very sad and surreal. My mother’s heart is bleeding.” “We did everything to find a solution [à la maladie de sa fille]. (…) She always wanted to enjoy life, but she doesn’t want to live like that until she’s 30, let alone until she’s 60 or 80. This suffering is terrible for her, and it is also terrible for me as a mother to see it,” she continues.
For her part, Lauren seems to await death with relative serenity. In a long article published on her blog, she describes how she made the various arrangements relating to her death, going from the choice of cremation to the materials that will make up her coffin. “I devoured quite a few documentaries (and learned how cremation is bad for the environment. (…) I have polluted the planet enough during my life so, please, let my death be as lasting as possible,” pleaded the young woman.