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Dispatch from a World Transformed: Reflections from Death with Dignity Executive Director Peg Sandeen

May 21, 2020

This article first appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of The Dignity Report newsletter.


Back in January, I wrote my [Winter 2020 issue Dignity Report] editorial while in the thick of the 2020 legislative session. Today, I am reimagining work and life as a pandemic sweeps the globe.

Our Reality, Upended

Our world has been upended by COVID-19. Like many organizations, our headquarters are closed; by order of Oregon’s governor, my staff members and I are working from home. Many state legislatures suspended activity. Our advocates and lobbyists have put in-person work on pause.

It is a new reality for us all. And yet, in many ways, our work remains the same.

The Work Continues

We continue to collaborate with advocates across the country, giving them the tools they need to succeed. And we are working behind the scenes to lay the foundation for legislative campaigns in 2021 and beyond.

People still call us with questions about how to access death with dignity and other end-of-life options. Most inquiries now focus on end-of-life planning in light of COVID-19. To that end, we’ve been hard at work creating dedicated resources that provide practical advice and simple tools to help people get their affairs in order before they die.

New Resources

We recently published our guide to creating a Life File: a central place for “how and what” documents that ensure your wishes are honored at the end of your life and your loved ones have the information they need to take care of your affairs when you die. Complete with a downloadable checklist, this resource is your go-to guide for end-of-life planning.

On our blog, we’ve collected advice from experts in fields related to death and dying on a range of complex topics. How does COVID-19 impact end-of-life care? What do dying and grieving look like in a pandemic? Leaders in the fields of medicine, medical ethics, funeral services, journalism, and grief support provided perspectives on these and other questions.

Physical Distance, Emotional Connection

As we all adjust to physical distancing, I am connecting with longtime supporters and advocates more frequently. They have checked in on me, and I’ve checked in on them. I feel immense gratitude for these kind and resilient individuals and am proud of the network we’ve created together.

You Give Us Strength

You are part of our community, too. Thanks to you, we can advance our mission to bring control and peace of mind to Americans with terminal illness, even in uncertain times. We are honored to have you by our side as we weather this storm together.

Be well,

Peg Sandeen
Executive Director

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