We receive a variety of messages from our supporters that let us know our work has had a significant impact on their lives. Here's a recent example:
"I watched every video on the PCV website. It gave me great comfort and knowledge about what to expect as my husband and I navigated the Act 39 process." ...from a recent thank-you note.
One of the most-watched videos (with over 500 views) is that of Peggy and Samantha Stevens in our Living While Leaving series, sharing their loving memories of Eric Stevens during his journey using medical aid in dying.
On Sunday, April 7, Peggy Stevens spoke at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation in St. Johnsbury. A warm and engaging speaker, Peggy shared her personal experience during the time when her husband Eric's health was declining from a neurological disease. She discussed how they had to make a transition from looking for cures to planning what they hoped would be a peaceful death. Peggy's story is about living life fully while accepting the inevitable end of life.
Report from the Field:
During this past week, PCV representatives Dr. Diana Barnard, Betsy Walkerman, Francesca Arnoldy and Marnie Wood led and participated in discussions at two public forums. Dr. Barnard discussed hospice and palliative care at the Gerontology Symposium hosted by the Center on Aging at the University of Vermont. Francesca Arnoldy led breakout sessions on the role of an end-of-life doula.
"I was able to discuss the process of Act 39 as I described the kind of emotional support a doula can offer," says Francesca. "Focusing on individual choice is paramount as a doula assists with gathering information so clients can make their best decisions."
Marnie Wood reported that attendees appreciated the PCV brochures and the chance to talk with people who have been through medical aid in dying with a family member. In the circle I led, as part of Death Talks during Public Philosophy Week, a major topic raised by attendees was how to support people who do not want to linger with severe cognitive decline. We will be posting more information about that on the PCV website soon.
Our Upcoming Work:
PCV speakers will be leading two discussions in the next month. One will be at the Caldwell Law Group in Lebanon, NH, which serves Vermont and New Hampshire clients with estate and end-of-life planning services. The other event is intended to provide information on Act 39 to the Brown Alumni Association of the Upper Valley. Sorry, but both of these are private engagements.
If you are connected with an organization that would like to have a discussion about medical aid in dying, please contact us. These discussions are about life, making decisions, establishing connections, and about personal autonomy in navigating the challenges to your fundamental civil liberties. Every person who learns about end-of-life choice and talks about it with their doctor, helps to anchor this civil liberty firmly in our Vermont community.