This piece was written shortly after Ray’s death in 2017.
Ray Perman already had his aid-in-dying medication in hand when he invited Compassion & Choices into his home in December 2016 to share the easy-to-understand process he followed to obtain the prescription and the great peace of mind it gave him just knowing it was there. He later took the medication surrounded by loved ones and died peacefully on February 4, 2017.
When Ray reached out to our Compassion & Choices, he indicated his hope that his lifelong passion for traveling, exploring and storytelling would culminate in sharing the details of his final journey. He wanted to inspire courage in other terminally ill Californians who were suffering at the end of life and wanted to access medical aid in dying. The son of a TWA pilot, Ray said that the explorer’s creed was guiding his approach to end of life:
I intend to report to C&C what I am experiencing on this path. Wish I could report to you from the “other side,” but darned, I’m not that good.Thanks to hospice and this end-of-life option our culture is now on the immediate threshold of an entirely new last-phase of life — and I am one of the very grateful explorers. Fantastic!!! The message is that it is no longer the worst, and indeed may, or certainly should be, the best phase of life. Every glint of sunshine, a flower, every smile, every modest act of human kindness, all bursts through delivering remarkable joy. Every interaction with loved ones and friends carries 10 times the amount of emotional impact as before. Absolutely no one should miss this experience. No one should have — need have — their perceptions occluded out of fear. No one wants to die, but a peaceful and happy death is indeed an ecstatic death — not a fantasy. Dial-in, do art, work with kids, connect, do, love, everything! Is this bravura, denial, something else? My excellent hospice nurse doesn’t think so. Thus [The End of Life Option Act] supports my goals of retaining high function and then rapidly transitioning to the end.
As much as he wanted this story to help others, the day after we shot this interview, he wrote me this message:
Your questions/process has brought about some amazing conversations and clarity with my family. I am the greatest beneficiary of everything you are doing with this story.
Thank you so much. Onward through the cosmos … Ray.
News About Ray
Ray’s story was covered extensively in the Bay area and California as a whole.