death with dignity Tag

In early December friends and coworkers of Kate Lounsbury gathered on the Bainbridge Island Ferry to remember and celebrate her life. The Bainbridge ferry paused briefly as friends released Kate’s ashes.  Kate battled large B Cell Lymphoma for several months before exercising her right to Death With Dignity under Washington’s 2008 law. With assistance from Compassion and Choices, she died peacefully at home among friends on October 26, 2013.
[caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignleft" width="229"]Kate, second from left, with friends from the dance world Kate, second from left, with friends from the dance world[/caption] Last October before our coworker Kate Lounsbury died of lymphoma she asked this blogger to write about her choice to use Washington’s Death With Dignity law to acquire legal aid in dying. Kate hoped it would promote wider public understanding. Before writing, I spoke with coworkers and friends and asked for their perspectives on Death With Dignity. Many had voted for Initiative 1000 which established the law with a 58.6% margin in 2008. All said they’d vote the same way again today. That was clear. But some expressed conflict about the actual act it legalized---aid in dying. Would I make that choice? they wondered aloud. How would I feel when someone I loved made that choice?! I think many people experience similarly unsettled emotions. Some are conflicted or opposed ideologically or because of religious faith. Complicating our feelings is the fact that death is rarely discussed in our culture and is hard to imagine. In that, Kate’s view differed from us all. She didn’t have comfortable distance from imminent death. She knew her life would end-- painfully-- and, understanding that, she was unwavering in her determination to choose the manner in which she left this world and her beloved friends behind.