March 09, 2023
On Sunday, The Boston Globe published an article I wrote in its Ideas section (https://bit.ly/JFKinBG) in support of “The End of Life Options Act” that is coming before the Massachusetts legislature again this year. If passed, individuals will have the right to end their lives with the help of a physician if they have a terminal illness and less than six months to live.
In the article, I revisited my husband Peter’s last eight days of life. He chose to stop eating and drinking because his quality of life had diminished from Parkinson’s Disease to the point where he did not want to live.
It took me 17 months to be ready to write our story. What I didn’t expect was that seeing it in the paper would reopen a wound that I thought had mostly healed. So I am thrilled to see our story in print and sad for the reason.
Happy/Sad, isn’t that what life is all about?
The field of binaries we sail or trudge through--happy/sad, sweet/sour, day/night, 'twas ever thus and it is impossible to find different terrain, all summed up in the ancient taijitu. Your article is a step toward a better world and I am sure your husband would approve, and understand the price you unfortunately had to pay to promote the cause of a more humane and sensible society.
Posted by: Richard McNally | March 09, 2023 at 06:15 AM
Meg sent me the article, and I find myself reflecting on its message again and again. Thank you for writing such a difficult but important piece.
Posted by: Debbie | March 09, 2023 at 10:55 AM
An extraordinary piece of your life to share with the world. Advocating that others might choose their time with more comfort than Peter had to endure, and you had to observe, is compassionate of you. I suspect the wound will open more times in the future. Your life together was long and meaningful.
Dad was against euthanasia. He died of lung cancer. About 6w prior, when we were alone, he asked me if "it would feel like I'm drowning". Yes. "Maybe euthanasia is a good thing after all".
I think it should be federal law but given the backwards motion in recent years, it's generations away now :-(
Posted by: Elle | March 09, 2023 at 09:11 PM
I'd also like to add my thanks to you for writing this piece.
I've thought a lot about it ever since.
I followed Ronni Bennett's blog As Time Goes By for many years till she made the decision to end her life.
She lived in Portland Oregon where, given very particular circumstances such a consideration was recognised and respected.
Her last blog was on the eve of the 2020 Presidential Election results and knowing how she felt about him I wondered if she did it then - quite understandably - to avoid having to face a second Trump term?
She recorded the process for her readers which I found very helpful.
Posted by: Anne Brew | March 10, 2023 at 12:30 PM