Columnist Ellen Goodman wrote recently about the terminally ill California woman who relocated to Oregon where the right to abort her life is legal. MaineToday Media has published some exceptional pieces in recent years addressing this very sensitive, yet very essential, topic.

I’m awaiting word from New Jersey as my extended Italian family holds a vigil for their mom — a pistol of a woman I loved like my own mother. After suffering severe dementia for years, she’s now refused sustenance, and is comatose.

Back in the day, she was the postmaster, the town clerk, the president of the Board of Health, and the go-to “fixer.” In the summer of 1965, I was awarded a speeding ticket. Distracted, perhaps lip-syncing to “My Girl,” a part-time summer cop didn’t realize I was “connected.” Shortly thereafter, my ticket disappeared. But the tongue-lashing I (subsequently) suffered in her kitchen (seemingly) lasted for hours. Finally she asked, “You hungry …?”

I’ll be traveling with My Girl (the same one from 1965) to New Jersey sometime soon. Our discussion inevitably will turn to our own wishes when our times come. Previously we’ve both agreed that we’d not allow our families to witness the diabolical ravages of a horrific disease — or the indignity of wasting away before everyone’s moist eyes and heavy hearts. We love them too much.

The issue of euthanasia hasn’t been discussed much in Maine from a legislative standpoint, although it’s crossed my mind once or twice during the recent electoral circus (and certainly the results thereof). I hope someday, someone would be courageous and/or compassionate enough to propose an intelligent end-of-life debate to consider, perhaps, “the way death should be.” Maybe then Maine and other states might catch up to Oregon.

‘Til then: L’chaim!

Buddy Doyle


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