Most people in the full flood of life never give a passing thought to their own dying and death. If the idea does pop up, most will dismiss it as morbid or gloomy.
But there are others who have no such luxury. They may live with a condition that robs them of any quality of life and pushes them towards an early death.
Some may have such a serious illness that every day is like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen, only to face the same struggle the next day with no relief in sight, ever.
One Hobart-based woman recently went on a journey of death with her mother, who had been diagnosed with an illness she could never recover from.
Carlyn (second name withheld for privacy) decided to write the story of her mother's last months and hours, so others could get an insight into one person's experience of voluntary assisted dying.
"It's a story that needs to be shared," she said.
Her mother, Karien Merx died in the Netherlands at the age of 74, surrounded by her loved ones.
The Netherlands is one of a number of countries and states which allow voluntary assisted dying in certain circumstances.
Here, then, is Carlyn's story, which she has offered to the people of Tasmania with the blessing of her father and siblings, who live in the Netherlands.
"In September 2019 my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.
"Seven years earlier my mum had battled cancer in her tongue and jaw. This earlier battle involved a number of major surgeries, and a long and painful recovery period.
"Her memories of this period were still traumatic and when this new cancer was diagnosed, she said very early that she did not want to go through that again.
"When I heard the news I quickly made the journey home (to Holland).
"It was classed as Stage 4 - terminal. It was a large, fast growing tumour that made eating, drinking and even swallowing saliva difficult and painful.
"Radiation was started to reduce the size of the tumour, or at least slow its growth. After 15 sessions the tumour did reduce a bit, but the pain from the treatment was intense."
"While I was in Holland my mother had a very scary choking episode while she was eating a baby sized spoon of mashed dinner.
"Quite suddenly she began coughing and then had serious trouble breathing.
"It was a terrifying experience for my father and I who were with her at the time.
"It was even more terrifying for my mother and it really brought the reality of her situation home to her.
"She knew it was most likely that she would ultimately die by choking to death in her own saliva, which she thought would be a painful and horrible death, and this terrified her.
"Not long after this my mother raised the topic of euthanasia with me.
"I understand how depressing and difficult it can be to live with unbearable pain and discomfort. I also understood her fear after being with her during that choking episode.
"I told her if she wanted to go down the path of euthanasia then I would support her decision. When I told her I could immediately see relief in her eyes.
"My father and siblings also supported her decision to choose her own death when the time came."
"It was as though a weight had lifted from her shoulders and the air was cleared.
"She was calm and no longer fearful about her future, and we were able to make some beautiful memories.
"When it was finally time for me to return home to Australia the goodbye at the airport was extremely difficult, as we knew it would be the last time we would touch and hold each other."
Then in early 2020, Carlyn's mother revealed to her daughter that her quality of life had gone, and she wanted to start planning her death.
"She said to me, 'There is no turning back from it' and asked me what to do.
"I asked her, 'What would you say if it was your mother?', and straight away she answered, 'I would tell her to go and have peace and be pain free'."
After a family meeting, Mrs Merx officially asked her GP for euthanasia.
That started a process involving her GP and a specialist doctor who assesses the patient and looks after the doctor who carries out euthanasia.
"It has to be clear that euthanasia is the wish of the patient herself, and there is no possibility the patient can survive the illness."
The specialist assessed Mrs Merx's suffering, and quality of life and recommended to the GP that they proceed.
"She chose the date, March 24, 2020, which gave time for her family to return home and say goodbye."
"Unfortunately by then COVID-19 was active in Europe and I didn't have the option of going back to Holland again.
"However her GP was fine for me to 'be there' by webcam when the time arrived.
"The next 12 days were a very strange period and tough for me.
"Looking back, I think that is when I really went through the mourning period.
"It also gave us time for our last talks, asking our last questions, and saying our goodbyes.
"Many people then came to say goodbye; flowers were sent, and there were tears but also laughs.
"I don't think this would have happened if her death hadn't been so defined, and it made her last days much more pleasant for her."
"My son wrote a prayer for his grandmother and received a wonderful letter back from her.
"My mother asked to do a last FaceTime session with him, which we had two days before her passing.
"This was very emotional when it was time to turn of the iPad.
"The day of her passing, I wrote a letter which I finished a few hours before the moment, describing all the loving and treasured moments and memories throughout my life with her.
"I sent it to her by email, and after that she rang me for the last time, and said she had no words to describe how special my letter was.
"Both my son's prayer and my letter were later read out at her funeral.
"Just before 8pm our time, I phoned in by FaceTime, as the time had arrived.
"She already had a cannula in her arm, which was put in by paramedics a couple of hours earlier.
"My mum looked very calm and was very well aware of what was going to happen. "
"She went to lie down on the couch in the living room, which was full of flowers.
"She said goodbye to us all and the GP told her to think of a very special dream.
"My sister held my mother's hand and my brother was sitting next to her, while the GP administered the drugs.
"She quietly drifted off to sleep and only moments later she was gone..."
Carlyn said if dying could be beautiful, her mother's death was definitely that.
"When I think about it or have been asked about her passing, the words I can use to best describe it are 'beautiful and peaceful'.
"She died by making a brave choice, with dignity, and was in control of her own destiny until her last breath.
"She also avoided the painful, uncontrolled death that terrified her.
"She is now resting, painless and at peace."
Carlyn feels proud that her mother was brave enough to make the decision.
"I asked her a few days before if she was scared and she said 'no'.
"She was so calm and she said 'goodbye' to us all.
"I think everybody has the choice. I want to have a choice if I come into a situation like that."
Mrs Merx was a Roman Catholic, who raised her children in the faith, and Carlyn in turn has raised her son as a Catholic.
She said her faith had played a role in her mother's journey.
"I don't think God has ever wanted anyone to suffer and die in a very inhumane way.
"To me it fits in that part of religion where you help each other, and you're there for each other and you want the best for each other."
The Netherlands has had the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (WTL) Assessment Act since 2002.
Under the law, the doctor who has administered the drugs cannot leave the deceased until the coroner has been, then contacted the Justice Department to confirm the procedure of euthanasia was done lawfully.
In Mrs Merx's case, the coroner arrived within an hour of her passing and the GP was cleared from any legal charges and could leave the house.
If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please call Lifeline 13 11 14 also lifeline.org.au or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, or Beyond Blue at 1300 24 636 also beyondblue.org.au, or MensLine 1300 789 978 also mensline.org.au