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.

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

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

Dying Wish: A Documentary About a Peaceful Death

Karen van Vuuren is a former broadcast news journalist with experience working in the field of end-of-life and directed the documentary Dying Wish. Below she explains more about working with Dr. Miller to film the documentary.

Karen's currently completing a new documentary, Go In Peace! on caring for veterans with PTSD who are facing serious illness or death. She is also the editor of Natural Transitions Magazine, a quarterly magazine focusing on conscious, holistic approaches to end of life.

Retired surgeon, Dr. Michael Miller, knew he wanted to die in his own bed, at his home in Boulder, Colorado. His desire was to leave surrounded by family, and under the care of a supportive hospice team. Dr. Miller had done his homework on his end-of-life choices. He'd researched the dying process and discovered that patients who stopped eating and drinking often had an easier exit.

Read more: Dying Wish: A Documentary About a Peaceful Death

Quebec Is Keeping the Assisted Death Debate Alive--With Dignity

Adam Kingsmith on Death with Dignity

Adam Kingsmith has an M.A. in International Relations and is an Associate Editor of The Hidden Transcript, where his blog Social Glasnost explores the linkages between technology, culture, and dissent—with the occasional ill-advised foray into Canadian politics. He currently splits time between his hometown of Vancouver and Toronto. His article below originally appeared on The Huffington Post Canada.

Following the recommendations of a provincial panel of legal experts on medically assisted end-of-life procedures, the government of Quebec has announced plans to proceed with its "dying with dignity" legislation—paving the way for doctors in the province to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives.

"Every person should be able to make their own choice according to their values and according to their experience, their life, at the end of their life," said Jean-Paul Ménard, who led the legal panel.

Read more: Quebec Is Keeping the Assisted Death Debate Alive--With Dignity

Going the Extra Mile

Matt and Pete Dimmer care of The Extra Mile

Matt Dimmer is the founder and CEO of The Extra Mile, a nonprofit which collects donations of funding and air miles and gives them to people who wouldn't have otherwise had the means to visit loved ones before they die.

Pete Dimmer was an amazing man, he was also my father. From coaching my sports teams to giving me advice on life, he was always there for me.

He was a handy guy and loved to tinker. He couldn't sit still and always wanted to fix stuff. When he ran out of things to do on his list, he'd naturally offer to help others. From tasks around the house to asking everyone at 'the beach' what they needed help with. He was known as the go-to guy.

From a young age, I remember my parents steering me in the right direction in life. They were well educated and imbued upon my sister and I the importance of getting an education, as well as doing the right thing. Growing up, it was very important to my mom and dad that we knew right from wrong, as it was to most parents—but mine always went a bit further. Leading by example, they taught us about giving back to those in need, and while at the time it seemed just part of life, it wasn't until I was an adult when it really had an impact on me.

Read more: Going the Extra Mile

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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.

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