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Local Advocate Spotlight: Valerie Lovelace, Maine

February 3, 2016

Last year, Maine came closer than ever to having a Death with Dignity statute. The Maine House passed LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-directed Care at the End of Life, with a vote of 76 to 70, while a single vote held the bill back in the Senate.

Senator Roger Katz has vowed to bring his bill back in 2017, saying, “This will come to the legislature again. It’s an end-of-life issue that isn’t going away.”

It’s My Death

We’ve partnered with the local nonprofit, It’s My Death, to help a Death with Dignity bill pass in the post-presidential election year.

I don’t want to die the way someone else thinks I should.

—Valerie Lovelace

It’s My Death is the brainchild of Valerie Lovelace, who founded the organization to honor a promise to her dying sister Dee, “to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid.”

Val is a long-time supporter and volunteer with us. She has penned several articles on our website, for example. A renaissance personality, she is an inter-faith minister, a hospice volunteer, an artist, a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, a U.S. Navy veteran, a trained EMT, and the parent of three adult children.

Dirigo

Val’s viewpoint on the issue reflects the sentiment behind the bill and the state’s motto—Dirigo (I Lead or I Direct): “I want human rights and civil liberty to prevail in our dying. I want my state to acknowledge the incredible intimacy and the very personal nature of dying as the final event of living a self-actualized, individual human life.”

We are supporting the educational efforts of It’s My Death. Val offers classes, talks, presentations, and workshops on the issue.

“We’re gaining momentum,” she said. But, as hopeful as she is about the future in Maine, Val recognizes that, “the more publicity the issue gets, the more the opposition rallies.”

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