Transcript of TEDxBellingham Presentation

On November 25, 2013, seven months after my husband Alan died, I gave a TEDx talk in Bellingham, WA.

My husband, Alan, is Not Here By Choice

Toward the end of 2011, my husband was diagnosed with both Alzheimer’s disease and laryngeal cancer. Ultimately he decided to voluntarily stop eating and drinking as a peaceful means to the end to his life. Sometimes I will refer to this process as VSED, voluntary stopping eating and drinking. He died one month shy of his 77th birthday. So he is Not Here By Choice.

A few weeks before he stopped eating and drinking, he was sitting at the breakfast table and I glanced over at him and noticed that he was crying. I said, “Honey, what are you feeling? He said, “I’m not afraid of dying and I’ve lived a good life, but I want everyone to know about VSED.”

I spontaneously replied, “You’ll just have to trust that I’ll be your vehicle.” So here I am today sharing this exact story with you.

Death is something most of us don’t want to think about. It frightens us. Yet it beckons us. I’m suggesting you take the time now to learn that you have more choices about the end of your life than you may be aware of. If you have this awareness, you may have less fear about dying, and this can bring you more peace today. I’m going to tell you about my husband and the five unusual choices he made and during the last year-and-a-half of his life.

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