Apparently my last blog post touched a nerve – I have been swamped with wonderfully soulful e-mails from a wide variety of people and places. I can’t really post the responses – many are quite personal – but I will say this: there’s a whole lotta heart out there. But we knew that, didn’t we?
My Dad died peacefully, painlessly, surrounded by family. He charted his own course. Many do not have this opportunity.
Not long ago, I read Atul Gawande’s extraordinary book Being Mortal (don’t miss this one), and more recently Diane Rehm’s book On My Own. Rehms, who plans to retire from her NPR show after November’s election (and maybe head for Canada with the rest of us if the unthinkable happens!) lost her husband to Parkinson’s disease.
Unlike my Dad, Rehm’s husband was not able to chart his own course. The experience of his death caused her to become a strong advocate for Compassion & Choices[LINK], the right-to-die organization which was responsible for the first U.S. death with dignity law in Oregon. Four other states have followed Oregon’s lead and there will be more. I’ll be glad.
Anyway, to all of you who wrote, and those that might, thanks so much for the outpouring. I will try to respond to each of you, over time. But this brings up something that interests me: most people, when they respond to my blog posts, e-mail me directly rather than commenting on the blog for all to see. I love getting responses either way, so don’t hesitate, but I am curious about why most people choose to do it that way. I’d love to learn. Let me know.