One night, when my grandmother was dying, she said, “I don’t know what I’m still here for.”

She didn't say it to me, particularly, but more as a general statement of enquiry, perhaps to God or the universe or to herself, all of these being, at that time to me, equally vital entities.

We were very close. It had been my turn to sit with her so that my aunt could try and have some sleep.

She had been diagnosed with cancer some nine months before and opted not to have any treatment. My gran, Cathy, was 87 and had decided she did not want her life to be artificially extended.

My grandpa, Bobby, had died of oesophageal cancer when I was four - surprisingly I remember him quite vividly - and I suspect gran's memory of what treatment had been like those decades before put her off the idea.

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She had also once told me she would hate to live to 100 but never specified why. My other granny lived to 105 and made it seem quite palatable. So gran, Cathy, returned from the hospital to live her final months at home, the home she had lived in since the 1940s, and let nature take its course.

With the support of specialist nurses, her three daughters, my mother and my aunts, took shifts around the clock to care for her and I would sit in to help.

I have read people describe there to be a beauty in caring for a terminally ill loved one but I would have to stretch beyond myself to find it. I understand there is beauty entwined in pain and there is beauty expressed in the very pure act of caring when it is done patiently.

Cathy was a dignified woman. I am sure she knew of her cancer for a long time before seeking medical help became unavoidable - with hindsight, there are signs I believe I should have spotted - but it was a woman's cancer and she was of the generation who did not mention such things.

She would not leave home without a hat, not even to pop to the corner shop for her daily newspaper. Such a woman would scorn the notion of any kind of positivity in having intimate needs met by daughters and granddaughters.

I was in Coatbridge Tesco when she died. I’d bumped into a girl from my childhood dance classes and we’d had a polite catch up.

I can’t remember why I’d had to go to the shops. Something mundane. When I went out, my gran was alive. When I came back, she was dead. She didn't know why she had still to be there and, finally, nor did her body.

I mention this because I think it's important to say that I am not naïve about the realities of end of life care.

Nor am I a stranger to pain. Following a kidney operation many years ago I was left for an extended period of time without analgesics. The medication had worn off and I had a hole in my side and I was screaming with pain but also trying very hard not to be a nuisance.

There were no staff around other than a student nurse on a placement from Coatbridge College who offered me paracetamol.

This, crucially, was temporary pain. But it taught me that something one might describe as unbearable suffering was, ultimately, bearable.

All of this is what I think about when the issue of assisted dying comes up, as it is frequently.

Cathy did not want her life to be artificially extended but nor did she want it to be artificially ended. I admire that certainty just as I admire the certainty of Prue Leith, the TV chef, who told me in an interview a few weeks ago just how emphatically she supports assisted dying and would want it for herself.

Ditto the comments from the actress Diana Rigg, released posthumously by her daughter.

I admire, also, Esther Rantzen's certainty. Ms Rantzen, a lifelong campaigner of unignorable chops, is dying of lung cancer, plans to go to Dignitas in Switzerland for an assisted death, and wants to see a free vote in the UK parliament on the issue.

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The picture in England and Wales is very different to that in Scotland. In Scotland, Liam McArthur's private members bill on assisted dying is making headway through the system. An overwhelming majority of the Scottish public, in polling, show support for its introduction.

It will go to a free vote at Holyrood, parties have said.

In Westminster, there is only cowardice on the subject. The Campaign for Dignity in Dying put the figure, across the UK, in support of a change in the law as being at 84% but politicians in England balk at any meaningful discussion of the issue.

It will be harder for them to pussyfoot about it once a decision is taken in Scotland. If legislation comes into force here, Westminster will have a tougher time ignoring it, particularly under a Starmer government, given Sir Keir's comments on the topic.

Celebrity support is so useful in pushing causes. Celebs generate easy headlines. More than that, they are familiar faces trusted in a way politicians are not trusted.

Their personal experience is not more valid than that of anyone else though. The crucial thing is political trust.

Scotland's legislators have made a dog's dinner of a run of legislation in recent years and always those in relation to difficult, thorny issues of identity or belief. The matter of assisted dying is a medical issue, a health issue and yet we see how faith and belief intersects with issues other find to be pure matters of science.

I'm not sure I'm entirely settled on assisted dying but having questions on a topic feels unfashionable. It's far more de rigour to shout about things absolutely.

Personally, I believe I would not opt for an assisted death. I have a terrible fear of missing out and I desperately love being alive. I want to eke that out as long as I can, even if it's agony.

Do I want to stop someone else from ending their life in dignity and comfort and with their family around them? Definitively not.

It seems clear that it is right to introduce assisted dying for those who want it. We must, though, allow for open and empathetic public and political discussion on the topic to ensure any amendments to Mr McArthur's bill are dealt with properly.

The stumbling block will be the safeguards. Some will believe there are no safeguards rigorous enough to protect vulnerable people. Others will fret about the potential for a dangerous widening of the legislation to include additional groups, despite this being highly unlikely.

“Nobody speaks about this,” Diana Rigg said. She's only partially right but her legacy should be in being wrong - we should speak about this, but never in simplistic terms.

Fundamentally altering end of life care is no simple thing and we must be ready to catch unintended consequences through highly intentional conversations.