Personal Stories

Want to be the first to know when there's a new update here? Subscribe to this category's rss feed.

In the Death with Dignity movement we all have experiences to share. These are our constituents' personal stories of courage, pain, joy, fear, sadness and hope.

To tell your story and help others understand why Death with Dignity laws are important please send an email to Melissa.

Always remember: you are not alone.

Brittany's Decision is Hers Alone

In recent days, there has been a fair amount of confusion around Brittany Maynard's statement that she might not hasten her death tomorrow as she mentioned in a video in early October. In her latest public statement, she expressed what many other Oregonians who grappled with whether or when to ingest the medication when she stated, "I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now."

For 12 years, I was executive director of Compassion & Choices of Oregon; an organization dedicated to providing nonjudgmental information on end-of-life options. I worked with terminally ill people all over Oregon to help them navigate the request process for the medication allowed under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.

Read more: Brittany's Decision is Hers Alone

This Week in the Movement

Brittany Maynard on the cover of People Magazine

Brittany Maynard, a courageous young woman dying from terminal brain cancer, captured the country's attention by publicly sharing her private decision to request medication allowed under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. The outpouring of support for Brittany and the work we do toward Death with Dignity policy reform throughout the US has been incredible. No one should have to move to another state to have more end-of-life options. With your continued advocacy and support we'll keep working to make sure everyone, regardless of where they live, have the right to control the manner and timing of their own deaths.

Below are a handful of the dozens of media stories related to Brittany and our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Victoria Noe

Victoria Noe promised a dying friend that she'd write a book about people grieving their friends. That book became the Friend Grief series. Victoria will guest host our weekly #DWDchat on this topic this Thursday at 4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET. Join if you have time!

I've become obsessed of late with my prospect of my friends' deaths—or more accurately, their final illness.

Over lunch, over drinks, over the phone, I've asked them a loaded question: "Would you tell me if you were sick?" I'll tell you some of the answers in a moment. First, let me explain why I'm asking.

It's not just that most of my friends are also baby boomers. It's not just that we've all experienced the deaths of friends. It was the way two of my friends conducted themselves.

Carol's recurrence of breast cancer made an already very private person even more reclusive. She wouldn't allow any friends to see her, to visit her, in the hospital or at home. She would only talk to a select few on the phone. Why I was one of them, I still don't know, as we weren't the closest of friends. Maybe she knew I was willing to talk about anything and everything—except what she was going through.

Read more: What Kind of Friend Are You?

A Christian Argument For Physician Assisted Death

Rainbow by Rachel Coyle

Brittany Maynard's story has prompted discussions about our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, throughout the US. Over the last week, we've heard from hundreds of people in support of Death with Dignity. The guest post below by Rachel Coyle is republished with permission. The article originally appeared on Rachel's blog, Of a Moderation.

I have watched a lot of people die.

After college, I spent nearly two years providing patient care in the emergency department of a Level 1 trauma center. Today, I work with hospice patients, offering comfort to those who have 6 months or less to live.

I am also blessed with a big, loving, Catholic family. Our faith has played a major role in shaping each of us throughout the years.

In fact, it's safe to say religion has played a major role in every aspect of my life.

Yet I firmly believe in the right of our terminally ill to die with dignity.

Read more: A Christian Argument For Physician Assisted Death

Never Say Die: Why can't we embrace life's most inevitable fact--that it will end?

Brittany Maynard, image from interview with CBS

Brittany Maynard's story has prompted discussions about our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, throughout the US. Over the last week, we've heard from hundreds of people in support of Death with Dignity. The guest post below by Glenn Hodges is republished with permission. Glenn is a journalist (formerly with National Geographic and The Washington Monthly). The article originally appeared on Glenn's blog, Sounding Line.

It has been a busy month for death—or, more accurately, since death is always busy, a busy month for the discussion of death.

First, in mid-September, Ezekiel Emanuel caused a stir by writing in The Atlantic that he wanted to die at age 75, before his faculties dimmed too much, before his life became a litany of medical concerns. "Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy," he wrote. "Death is a loss...But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss."

Read more: Never Say Die: Why can't we embrace life's most inevitable fact--that it will end?

Pages

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.

donate today