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A Tale of Two Directives

Kathy Kastner's Mom

Kathy Kastner is just a regular gal who found herself pondering her own anxieties about dying, wanting to learn more about the process of dying, and seeking more knowledge about her end-of-life options. She knew she wasn't alone in this thirst for knowledge about what's often considered a taboo subject, and started BestEndings to serve as a portal of information and resources about end-of-life care.

My mom died 30 years ago. 

I hadn't given much thought about the decisions which were made before her death until I began my own journey of exploration into life's end which became BestEndings.

I found my mother's end—which started years before she actually died—creeping into my conscious. As the youngest of four, I had no part in the decision process when it came to her last months. And until a recent conversation with my older sister, I was absolutely positive my mother's advance directive was, "I want to be kept alive at all costs."

Read more: A Tale of Two Directives

This Week in the Movement

Awkward news captions via BuzzFeed

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date with information about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook and Twitter. Below are highlights from this week.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

Memories of Governor Booth Gardner

Gov. Booth Gardner & Nancy Niedzielski, election night

Nancy Niedzielski worked tirelessly along side Governor Booth Gardner in Washington to advocate for the state's Death with Dignity Act. Voters approved the law in 2008 by a margin of 59% to 41%. Her efforts were documented in the groundbreaking documentary How to Die in Oregon which was honored at film festivals all over the world and nominated for an Emmy Award.

"Booth Who?" That campaign slogan in 1985 for an unknown Booth Gardner running for Washington State's Governor no longer fit the man I met in 2008 during efforts to pass the Death with Dignity Law. He was now well known, having accomplished much in his two terms as Governor. His dedication to health care provided Washingtonians with a Basic Health Plan. That started efforts for a Healthcare Plan at the federal level accomplished several Presidents later. Governor Gardner's dedication to the environment provided Washingtonians with a Growth Management Act. His dedication to education funded programs that lowered class sizes. His death last week ended a remarkable life of a humble man who treated others with respect, no matter how different their backgrounds were compared to his from inherited wealth.

Read more: Memories of Governor Booth Gardner

This Week in the Movement

Happy Pi Day!

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date with information about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook and Twitter. Below are highlights from this week.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

New Pope. New Direction?

Wordle: Pope FrancisLike many workplaces around the world, productivity in the offices of the Death with Dignity National Center plummeted earlier this week, as our employees were engaged in the news coverage of the selection of the new pope. The selection and revealing of the new pontiff were the general topics of conversation throughout the day, and our work time together concluded with an energetic round of conclave trivia.

Interesting, I thought, for an organization whose main detractor is the Catholic Church; interesting for an organization whose main program over the past four years was derailed at the last minute by a spending spree by the Catholic Church and Catholic entities. Why were we captivated by the activities of those responsible for stamping out the reforms we're trying so hard to achieve?

Read more: New Pope. New Direction?

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Defend dignity. Take action.

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.

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