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New Stories This Year: Lenore Avin, Anne Lower, Joseph Halsey

February 12, 2016

This year we’ve published three stories so far, from California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Do you have Death with Dignity story to tell? Please share it with us.

Lenore Avin: The Opportunity to Die with Dignity

Lenore Avin is a retired risk analyst in Easton, Pennsylvania.

My father got mesothelioma in the late 1980’s and passed away in 1993 at the age of 76. He’d been exposed to asbestos in the 1940’s, when he worked as a pipe fitter at the Brooklyn navy yard and a plumber in the school system.

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Anne Lower: Having a Good Death

Anne Lower is a filmmaker in Hollywood, California.

My parents brought me up in an environment in which I was encouraged to own and make my own choices in life. This attitude extended to death, too; Death with Dignity was literally a dinner-table subject in my family. I like to say that Death with Dignity has been my life’s journey.

My father was an architect and member of the Hemlock Society. After he saw his mother, friends, and family die, he said that, if it came to the point where he couldn’t manage his own affairs, he wanted to die. He lobbied for Death with Dignity in Oklahoma.

One day, my mother found him in the driveway, unable to move—he’d had a stroke. He went into a coma and after he came out of it, he could not speak. He only mouthed the words, “I want to die.”

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Joseph Halsey: To Die with Self-Respect

Joseph Halsey is a filmmaker in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

In February 2008, my father, James R. Halsey, decided to end his 30-year war with multiple sclerosis. At the time of his death, his bed-ridden, debilitated body bore little resemblance to that of the proud, energetic man that had once held down three jobs, coached two little league teams, and been always the first on the dance floor at any celebration.

A continual round of visits to and from the hospital characterized the year leading up to his death. As his lungs filled with saliva caused by the total breakdown of his swallowing mechanism, his body weakened to 90% of its healthy mass, with major weakening of his limbs and vital organs. After many years spent bedridden being cared for by others, he made the difficult decision to refuse medical treatment and enter hospice care.

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