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Meg's Death with Dignity
Posted by Guest Blogger on October 18, 2011
Meg Holmes was diagnosed with brain cancer on Dec. 12, 2009. Andrew Taylor, Meg's husband, began publishing a blog to keep friends up to date on Meg's illness and treatment. On October 6, Andrew posted the following piece about Meg's decision to take medication prescribed to her under Washington's Death with Dignity Act. You can read the entire journey on Meg's blog.
My wife Meg died on Saturday morning in the loving company of her brother, sister, son, daughter and husband.
Suffering from a disease that robs one of intellect and dignity, she had the option, as a Washington resident, to choose the time of her death. She used the provisions of Washington's Death with Dignity Act to hasten her death while she was still able to converse with and understand her family members. (Oregon has long had a very similar Death with Dignity Act; Vermont and Massachusetts are also considering similar laws.)
Her family gathered on Friday and spent the day with her. She was much more alert and animated than of late and visited with each of us. Despite knowing that her death was the next day, we all slept well that night (I slept much better than for many weeks), showing us that we were prepared for her passing.
Social workers (she met privately with one from hospice and one from Swedish Hospital to affirm her decision) and the volunteer from Compassion and Choices of Washington all remarked on her readiness (and that she had not been ready the previous week).
The volunteer from Compassion and Choices of Washington showed immense skill and empathy in helping Meg and in caring for us.
Meg died peacefully and quickly, with no signs of discomfort. It was a remarkable end to a long struggle, and released Meg from what we all knew could be a long, distressing, undignified and inevitable end. Our preparations, the company of relatives, Meg's peaceful passing and the knowledge of her command of the situation all served to make her passing much easier for us all.
Thank you all for your advice and encouragement over these last almost two years.
Anyone interested in learning more about Washington's Death with Dignity Act could consult Compassion and Choices of Washington, could watch the documentary How to die in Oregon (HBO Go through November 29th) or could ask me.
Posted on October 18, 2011 in Personal Stories
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You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.