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living with dying

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Game of Thrones and Living with Death

Game of Thrones Season 3, image care of HBO

Any discussion of water-cooler television these days has to include HBO's Game of Thrones. The show is based on a best-selling series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, with five books presently in print and two more to come. I first discovered the books over ten years ago, and I find it amusing to see a whole new audience react to the many shocking plot twists and unexpected deaths of major characters through a different medium. With a new season set to premiere this Sunday, the buzz is heavy around who's survived the events at the end of the previous season, and who'll be next to go. Though set in a fantastical medieval world where seasons last for years, the reality of death is a constant in Martin's universe. The nation of Westeros (or The Seven Kingdoms) is rarely at peace and, even in peacetime, disputes between various feudal lords, bandits, drought, famine, disease, and the ever-approaching threat of winter and its accompanying deprivation make the threat of sudden death routine for its inhabitants.

Read more: Game of Thrones and Living with Death

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

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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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