This may be the best time of
my life. I have no worries. I
have nothing that I have to
do...All this brings
A: If I get an acute illness and I cannot decide for
myself, then let me die. If I can't have this kind of
discussion about whether or not I should be treated,
then let me die.
P: Alan was in the middle stages of Alzheimer's
when he died. He was still mentally competent. He
could not have followed through with not eating and
drinking without mental competence.
Alan said that he was beginning to look forward to
what comes next. Six weeks before dying he said,
as he fell to sleep, that people who had passed
over were waiting for him. It was a living, moving
picture. He saw family-- mother, father, aunts, uncles.
He spoke about this with soft relaxed tones, with
absolutely no fear. The experience was real. I asked
Alan if this meant he would be waiting for me when I
died. He said, "Yes.”
A: I am peace. I am love. I am loved.
P: As time went on, we were communicating on
a deeper level...we were communicating beyond
words. Nothing needed to be said. My husband
wasn't attached to anything by the time he started
this process. Including me.
A: The show is going to start...time to go. I need to
get the milk. The people are at the party.
I love you...
P: Alan was in a coma. The doctor left the house saying
that he would live one to three days. It was as if a force
was taking me into his bedroom. I closed the door.
I had no phone. There were no distractions. I was
completely present. I began to give him a pep talk.
I said 'I know you're really not here now. You can let
go. We've partnered together for 26 years. This is the
last time we will partner together like this. It's okay
for you to leave your body.. You're only holding on
with a few strands of your body now. You can let go
of any suffering and be free. It's time for you to let
go. There's nothing holding you back. Be free of any
suffering. Let yourself go. I am going to be alright. I
am going to help usher you home. It's okay to let go.
Be free. Be free.”
A minute or two later, my head turned up toward the
ceiling. I said, ”Alan, you're not here anymore. You're
watching this whole thing. You are free and I am
going to midwife you home.” Alan took two gentle
slow breaths and left his body.
As a result of being witness to and partnering with
Alan's death, I feel a deep peacefulness surrounding
my own death. That is the most beautiful part of his
legacy to me.
Death with Dignity, or medical aid-in-dying, statutes allow certain
terminally ill adults to request and obtain a prescription for medication
to end their lives in a peaceful manner. The acts outline the process
of obtaining such medication, including safeguards to protect both
patients and physicians.
Link to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking: A Legal Treatment
Option at the End of Life by Thaddeus Pope and Lindsey Anderson:
VOLUME I | 73