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Giving Thanks

Thank Heather and Jim on Change.org

To bring Death with Dignity to Massachusetts, a tremendous network of supporters provided financial and vocal support, and many volunteers made a commitment to share their stories in public speaking venues all over the state. Two individuals in particular, Heather Clish and Jim Carberry, shared intimate personal stories about their loved ones' experiences with death, poignantly illustrating the need for Death with Dignity. We'd like to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. Please join us in thanking them.

Heather Clish shared her father's experience early in the state's effort to pass Death with Dignity. Back in May, their viewpoint on the initiative was featured in a Sunday Boston Globe Magazine story. During a visit in Boston, Heather's father learned he had terminal brain cancer. Being an Oregon resident, he had the option to request medication to decide the timing and manner of his death as allowed under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.

When his pain and suffering became too great for the doctors to relieve, he decided to take the medication. As reported in the Boston Globe feature, Heather and her sisters were able to travel to Oregon to be with their dad in his final moments:

Read more: Giving Thanks

Engage Friends and Family with Grace

The One Slide Project

"Darrin, long time no see! What's new in your advance directive these days?"

"Man, home is where the heart is. If I had my druthers, I'd want to die here."

"Aunt Freda's gravy recipe! She had everything documented, didn't she? It's no wonder our cousins knew exactly what she wanted for her end-of-life care."

It's easy to avoid talking about subjects which make us uncomfortable, and few are more uncomfortable than thinking about our own deaths. Unless someone you know died recently, the subject of death isn't likely to come up in casual conversation. That's why this time of year, blogs dedicated to end-of-life care rally together to encourage people to Engage with Grace this weekend when family and friends are gathered to give thanks.

Read more: Engage Friends and Family with Grace

This Week in the Movement

The In-Between care of Pearl Jam

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:

  • PBS Frontline aired an episode about assisted death in states without Death with Dignity laws in which Death with Dignity National Center advisory board member Dr. Tim Quill explained, "When you're getting into areas that are this complex, you are so much better off with an open system than a secret system."
  • New Jersey Death with Dignity Advocate Jennifer Moniz started a Change.org petition to encourage her state's lawmakers to enact Death with Dignity legislation.
  • Massachusetts advocate, Jim Carberry told ABC News, "If someone could watch what my family went through all the way to the end and say, 'That's how I want my loved one to pass away,' then there's nothing I can do. But anyone who has an iota of compassion in the heart, I can't see them saying that."
  • Death with Dignity National Center executive director Peg Sandeen explained why voters in Cape Cod—some of the oldest in the state—might have supported the state's ballot question.

Read more: This Week in the Movement

Children's Grief Awareness Day

"Sad Child" by Anthony Kelly on flickr

Jennifer Marsh, LMFT, MS is the Community Education & Outreach Coordinator at The Center for Compassionate Care of The Elizabeth Hospice. She is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist, with a certification in Crisis and Trauma Intervention.

My first experience with death came at the age of 12. I remember the day as if it were yesterday, instead of 20+ years ago. I was in my classroom at school, balancing between two desks on my hands with my feet raised when the teacher came to get me. My mom was there, she said, and it was time for me to get my things and go home. I walked out of that classroom with a horrible feeling in my stomach I just couldn't put into words—and it deepened the moment I caught a glimpse of my mom. She had obviously been crying and looked as if someone had just knocked her over. All she could manage to say was, "It's Grandpa. He's gone."

I was old enough to know gone meant he had died. He'd suffered multiple strokes over the past few months and the last time I saw my Grandpa, he was in a facility with all sorts of tubes coming out from all over the place. Gone meant he wasn't there, in that bed, anymore. Gone meant we'd never see him again. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was how this one experience would impact how I coped with grief throughout my life.

Read more: Children's Grief Awareness Day

This Week in the Movement

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

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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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