So on May 23 a majority in the Maine House of Representatives voted against L.D. 347, an Act to Support Death with Dignity.

As a person with cancer who is facing the end of available treatments, I was hoping that I would be gifted the choice to die as I choose to with the dignity I deserve. Not so. Yes, I know, I still have a way — suicide — but I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to such a brutal choice, not in Maine.

And that is what the majority of representatives have taken away from some of us with terminal diseases — choice.

Within the last few years I have seen two people die while under hospice care. The first was my mother, who died relatively quickly and painlessly, though not without a great deal of discomfort. The second person I watched die was a good friend who had cancer. He too was under hospice care and despite receiving intravenous morphine and Ativan, his body would regularly convulse and his face, grimace — sometimes in pain, but mostly as a reaction to the drugs that were meant to help him die in peace.

Death is the ultimate personal event; we all go through it alone. However, if we are facing a certain death, or even a future of relentless pain and suffering, we should have the option of dying with some dignity at a time of our choosing. It is simply a matter of compassion and mercy.

Finally, I offer an opportunity to the people who denied me the choice of a death with dignity: come and stay with me while I am dying. Hold my hand and tell me it is God’s will as I scream out in pain. Hold my body down when it convulses and tell me how natural it is.

Ted Markow


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.