Almost 30 years after her mother died from cancer, Anne Fraser is still haunted by the trauma of watching her suffer through agonising pain in her final months.

“It was a long time ago but it’s still very fresh,” Mrs Fraser, 65, of Kelmscott, said.

“It’s not so much because of the grief. I’m a big girl, I can accept that my mum died. It was the way she died that I find very hard to live with.

“If she had died peacefully in her sleep, I’d have got over it. It’s the fact that she suffered so much.

“She wanted to die, she was in so much pain from the cancer in her bones and no medication could help with that.”

Mrs Fraser, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and felt “optimistic” about her own future, said it was vital for voluntary assisted dying to be an end-of-life choice to spare people the nightmare of what her mother Doris Birrell had endured.

“If I were suffering the way my mum suffered and everyone agreed I was dying, including myself, then I would want to go more quickly,” Mrs Fraser said.

“Some pain just can’t be alleviated and no one should have to live through the pain that my mother did.”

Doris Birrell. Picture: Supplied

When the cancer that she had been treated for returned and riddled her entire body in 1992, Ms Birrell, 64, was told she only had four months to live.

“My mother, who had watched her own father die horribly from brain cancer, had made a pact with my dad that if either one of them was ever in pain when they were dying from a terminal disease, then the other would help them die,” Mrs Fraser said.

“They referred to it as ‘taking the little blue pill’.

“And when she was lying in hospital in unbearable pain, she desperately wanted it but we couldn’t help her.”

Mrs Fraser said her dad was shattered by seeing his wife in so much pain and not being able to fulfil his promise to give her the “little blue pill”.

“Going through all that changed my dad who was always the strong one in the family,” she said.

“But he was broken by it and became a shadow of what he used to be,” she said. He died from dementia 10 years ago.

Mrs Fraser, a grandmother of three, said it was crucial for people to have an end-of-life choice and that legislative difficulties could be overcome.

“People say it will be too hard to legislate so let’s not do it. But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it,” she said.

“There’s nothing more certain than death and taxes. Taxes are so well legislated so they can do the same with death.

“It can be legislated. It has to be very carefully legislated but it can still be done.”