Guest Blogger

Many of the most successful blogs have an element in common: a diverse voice. Blogs partly came about, after all, from a desire for an interactive way to get information and to have a community of people participating in the discussions.

The Death with Dignity movement appeals to people from all walks of life, and we'd like your help in expanding our community. Interested in adding your voice to the Death with Dignity movement?

To have your piece considered for our blog, Living with Dying:

  • You must be a Death with Dignity National Center supporter.
  • Send your Death with Dignity-related article (700-1,000 words) to me via email.
  • Once your post is up, convince your friends and family to read it.

We look forward to reading your work.

Death with Dignity in Massachusetts

Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, psychotherapist, and author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life.

Watching a loved one die without dignity is devastating. Sadly, both of my parents experienced prolonged, painful, and what I considered to be, unnecessarily inhumane deaths.

Twelve years ago, I attempted to discuss end-of-life planning with my mother and father. Because I believe that death is simply a transition to another plane of existence, I tend to approach the topic in a rather direct and practical way, as was the case with my parents back in 2000. I suggested that they do end-of-life planning in advance, to ensure clarity about their wishes and to avoid any potential family conflict. But because neither of my parents were able to discuss or plan for death, at the end they were each kept alive by artificial means and suffered heart-wrenching deaths.

Read more: Death with Dignity in Massachusetts

Our Mom Deserved More Choices

Liz Parker Gagne and Jeff Parker live in Massachusetts, and recently shared why they support the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative on Dignity 2012's website.

Our mother passed away this summer at the age of 63 after suffering through a long battle with brain cancer. By the end of her life, after many treatments and attempts to cure her, it became clear that there would be no improvement. She desperately wanted to live but her illness was causing her unimaginable pain.

She required 24 hour care, could barely communicate, could no longer feed herself, and forgot how to swallow. We eventually moved her into a hospice residence, where she continued to suffer painfully until her body finally gave out.

Our mom did not want to endure constant suffering and did not want her two-and-a-half-year old grandson to see her in so much pain. We believe that our mom deserved more choices than what she was given, that she deserved to have the option to live her final days with dignity, surrounded by her family and enjoying her time with them; not wasting away before them.

Read more: Our Mom Deserved More Choices

Nancy Niedzielski from "How to Die in Oregon"

Nancy Niedzielski

Nancy Niedzielski worked tirelessly in Washington to advocate for the state's Death with Dignity Act which voters approved in 2008. 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.

When it was announced the documentary How To Die In Oregon was nominated for an Emmy, memories of the Washington campaign to pass the second Death with Dignity law, flooded my mind. The documentary placed a bookmark at a historical event for people around the world to see. And see it they did with an outpouring of love and support for those who dedicate time and money to ensure terminally-ill patients have a choice in their dying pain. Film Festivals around the world honored the documentary with awards, which for my way of thinking, honors the patients. My husband suffered in his dying, and the Oregon Death With Dignity Act couldn't help him.

Read more: Nancy Niedzielski from "How to Die in Oregon"

Dr. Morris from "How to Die in Oregon"

Dr. Katherine Morris

Dr. Katherine Morris was Cody Curtis' surgical oncologist. They were both featured in the groundbreaking documentary, How to Die in Oregon. Dr. Morris is currently an Assistant Professor in Surgical Oncology at University of New Mexico, with clinical and research interests in Upper GI (stomach, liver, pancreas, etc) cancers.

I'm not a person who likes getting her picture taken. So, how I ended up in a documentary discussing the most difficult and emotionally laden decision I've ever made in my professional career still occasionally puzzles me. Voting for Oregon's Death with Dignity law was a clear decision for me given the amount of respect I have for individual autonomy, and through my practice I'd learned how much people can suffer at the end of their lives. Even so, the decision to be a prescribing physician for a patient I was very attached to was incredibly difficult.

Read more: Dr. Morris from "How to Die in Oregon"

Automatic Giving–A Win-Win Situation!

Duane Lueders

Duane Leuders contributes to the Death with Dignity National Center every month. He lives in Simsberry, Connecticut with his wife of 29 years. Duane's been a practicing attorney for 26 years, and his wife is a licensed clinical social worker.

If there were an organization whose cause you cared deeply about which had an easy, automatic, and affordable way to support them on a regular basis, wouldn't you be interested in signing up?

Well, there is! Under the Death with Dignity National Center Sustaining Partner Program, you can set up automatic, tax-deductible gifts to be charged to your debit or credit card once a month, each quarter, or annually. I've been participating in this program for the past two years.

By signing up to be a Sustaining Partner, you'll save yourself time and money (remember, donations are tax-deductible), and save the Death with Dignity National Center's resources as well. More of your donation will go to directly support their mission rather than to administrative costs. That's right, no more solicitations filling up your mail box, no more checks to write, envelopes to address, or stamps to mess with. That's what I call a win-win situation!

Read more: Automatic Giving–A Win-Win Situation!

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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, non-profit organization, has been the leading advocate in the death with dignity movement. Member contributions helped us pass a new Death with Dignity law in Washington, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the death with dignity movement.

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