My mother decided not to receive the care that had a small chance of prolonging her life but would also have left her with irreversible consequences and a shadow of her former self. She asked me to help her have a "good death." Our family and her doctors all came down on the right-hand side of the "One Slide" continuum, wanting her to try anything to live. She didn't have a valid advance care directive, but luckily she was still lucid and able to sign all the papers. We all knew what she wanted, but it was still difficult to let her go. I am still thankful that I helped her, but also that I was not left in a position to make the decision for her. Still, the guilt and pressure from our live-at-any-cost society haunted me enough to write a novel about a family in the same situation, Finding Frances. My husband and I have completed our advance care directives through www.projectgrace.org, another organization that helps people legally articulate their needs and desires for end-of-life care. We do not want any of our children to be burdened by having to choose on our behalf. We all exercise our freedom of choice in living, why don't we take responsibility for our choice at the time of our ultimate passage? Thank you for bringing this "One Slide" to the open for discussion.
-Janice M. Van Dyck, 7/29/2010