Euthanasia referendum: Mother continues daughter's call for legalisation after she suffered painful death

The mother of a euthanasia advocate, who fought for its legalisation before her death five years ago, is supporting her daughter's call, saying there needs to be choice for people.

Shirley Seales' daughter Lecretia died of a brain tumour aged 42. As Lecretia suffered, she became a leading advocate for assisted dying.

It's been five years since her death, and Seales says it still hurts.

"It is the most terrible thing to not be able to help your child," she told Newshub.

She says she feels a responsibility to Lecretia.

"I'd much rather be out of the public limelight, but I think I owe it to my daughter to try and help get this across the line."

Seales wants New Zealanders to know that Lecretia obeyed the law - she didn't use assisted dying herself and she had a difficult end.

"I would like to say that Lecretia's death was not a nice death."

She says no one could take pain like Lecretia could, and that she was one tough cookie both physically and mentally.

"The tumour was swelling so much that the pain just became unbearable," she says.

"Hospice would say to me, 'she is in pain, look at her brow, it is so furrowed'. But she would never ever complain."

In fact, she believes Lecretia - who she calls Cretia - may never have chosen to end her life.

"For Cretia, she wanted that choice. It is not as if she would follow through. But she wanted that comfort of knowing that if things got too bad, she could avail herself of assisted dying."

"If there are people who choose that part of life is suffering at the end, then they can choose not to avail themselves of it. But why make everybody suffer because they feel that way?"

Shirley and Lecretia.
Shirley and Lecretia. Photo credit: Supplied / Newshub

But she wants Kiwis to do their own research before voting in the referendum.

"I'm not a person who pushes my views on others and I respect other people's views. But I don't want people to listen to emotive arguments."

For Seales, the issue of suffering at the end remains too close to home.

"My cousin was going to come along and talk today, but she is too sick to get out of bed. She has terminal cancer.

"Cretia would just hate to see her suffering. Absolutely hate it."

Her cousin, Louise Taylor, wants to vote 'yes' for assisted dying and she wants to live long enough to cast her vote.

"I hope she is well enough to get out there and vote."

Seales believes the time has come for assisted dying.

"It's not just about Cretia. It is unfair what's happening now. We've moved on from making people suffer."

Lecretia fought in the courts for terminally-ill Kiwis to get the right to choose when they ended their lives, and her mother is carrying on that battle.

"I'm incredibly proud. Lecretia always made us proud."