CHAPTER TENTaking Charge at the End of Your Life

I so wish my mother, who died of ovarian cancer, had done a living will. When she refused to eat, I was still fighting to save her through whatever artificial means the doctors could come up with. I’m so sorry I put her through that. It did not make her life one bit better.

—Suzie, focus group participant

How we die, the circumstances under which we die, what happens before we die, is under our control.

—Dr. Diane Meier, director of the Center toAdvance Palliative Care at Mount Sinaiin New York, in the PBS documentaryOn Our Own Terms

On the surface, this chapter heading could lead you to believe that my focus here is to help you ensure that decisions at the end of your life are made the way you ...

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