Art of Dying Volume One - Page 73

“ This may be the best time of my life. I have no worries. I have nothing that I have to do...All this brings me peace. 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. ALAN ALBERTS 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. 1 Link to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking: A Legal Treatment Option at the End of Life by Thaddeus Pope and Lindsey Anderson: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689049 2 VOLUME I | 73