My husband, Alan Alberts, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and laryngeal cancer toward the end of 2011. He was able to heal the cancer but the Alzheimer’s advanced. While he was still mentally competent, he decided to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (also called VSED) so he did not have to endure the indignities of living into the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Alan died consciously and peacefully on April 19, 2013.

One of the last photos of Alan and Phyllis about March 2013.

One of the last photos of Alan and Phyllis about March 2013.

Alan knew it was time to stop eating and drinking when he was too fatigued and no longer engaged in life in a way that was meaningful to him. His personal marker was when he could no longer attend our local Center for Spiritual Living (CSL). This Center represented love and community to Alan. This photo is from Alan’s last time at CSL.

My website includes the details that led up to his decision and the substance of what occurred during his decision making process. I’ve included details from the nine and a half days of his fast. I was his advocate. I share everything I did to support him through the process. There are online interviews, informative presentations, pertinent medical and legal guidelines, and more.

My husband’s choice may not be your choice or the choice of your loved one. But it is my hope that if we each participate in the planning of our own death, we may have the same kind of peace that my husband experienced.

Phyllis Shacter header image photo credit: Jeff Aspnes Photography