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The Salem News column: ‘Death with dignity’ restores personal liberty

An excerpt from The Salem News column, “‘Death with dignity’ restores personal liberty,” by Chip Ford, published Feb. 20, 2020:

While reading the Jan. 29 letter, “Pass ‘death with dignity’ bill” by Betty Breuhaus of Marblehead, I was reminded of the end-of-life ordeal of my life partner of 20 years, Barbara Anderson.

As a reader of The Salem News you will likely remember Barbara, then-executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a weekly columnist in this and other newspapers for a few decades. I cared for Barbara throughout her health challenge, from the day of diagnosis through over a decade of various treatments, until nothing worked for her any longer, never would. The prognosis was certain, inevitable and quickly approaching. I was at her bedside at home for well over a month, then the hospice facility for the final week, until she passed away.

Fiercely independent, she so much desired passing away on her own terms, rather than enduring a long, drawn out deterioration of mind and body. She was so frustrated, angry that the option was forbidden by law.

As I write I’m reminded that today would have been Barbara’s 76th birthday. What better gift can I give to her than passing on her last wishes, her final thoughts on this topic of death with dignity, reminding her readers of them?