Last Sunday, June 11, 2017, I spoke at our local Village Books bookstore in Bellingham. We had a good turnout, about seventy people. What strikes me is that people are truly eager to have information about end of life choices. When I present publicly, I use my personal story as a launching platform, and it does have to do with VSED, Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking. But the larger issue is “choice.” What are our choices? How can we educate ourselves and face these choices?
What are our choices? How can we educate ourselves and face these choices?
Because of our collective and personal fear of dying, we can go through much of our life acting as if we are not going to die. I got very good at this myself. But then I realized that under all of my fears in my life was my fear of dying. Then life gave me the lesson of getting up and personal with death by taking care of my husband when he had both cancer and Alzheimer’s. Besides being his caregiver, I became his student in a sense. I asked him lots of questions during the last year of his life about how he was perceiving his own end of life. I took copious notes and really wanted to hear what he had to say. Those notes made it possible for me to write my book, Choosing to Die.
I’m not sure I would have been able to evolve my own perspective easily if I hadn’t taken care of my husband. I wrote my book as a way to share our story as completely and intimately as possible. I’ve received some feedback from readers and have been told that their own fear of death has been lessened as a result of reading this book. This is very reassuring.