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by Abigail Van Buren

Letting Go Can Be Family's Act of Love for Dying Patient

DEAR ABBY: The sentiment in "Let Me Go," the poem that you recently published, is one that we hear a lot at The Hemlock Society. Fortunately, we can offer solutions to suffering people and their families that can empower them.

Knowing there is a choice about whether to go on, or to die with peace and dignity at the time they chose, often extends life and relieves anxiety. There is no reason why the end of life should be the one time that people dread.

The late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan put it this way: "Dying is personal ... and it is profound. For many, the thought of an ignoble end, steeped in decay, is abhorrent. A quiet, proud death, bodily integrity intact, is a matter of extreme consequence."

We agree, and The Hemlock Society can help. -- FAYE GIRSH, PRESIDENT

DEAR FAYE: I am pleased to publish The Hemlock Society's mission: "To maximize the options for a good death, including legalizing physician aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults who request it, under careful safeguards."

Readers who would like further information can write The Hemlock Society, P.O. Box 101810, Denver, CO 80250-1810. The Web site is: www.hemlock.org; and e-mail: hemlock@privatei.com.