Update: May 2020

Living and Dying in Maine

Our days are warmer, the sun higher, the sky more clear. 2020 has thus far been a long haul. Who knows what the future will bring to us, our communities, and our planet?

We’re lucky here. We have access to the Maine Death with Dignity Act if we choose. While many states hoped to pass or at least consider death with dignity bills in 2020, most fell to an endless pile of way-laid legislation so lawmakers across the country could deal with the impact of Covid-19. Only the Massachusetts bill remains active, but it, too, lies pending with all other non-emergency bills for the state.

While we find our way forward here in Maine, what we don’t have to do is worry about whether there are options for terminally ill patients who wish to have a say in how their life ends.

Ron Deprez was one of those patients. His family recently shared his death with dignity story with Eric Russell of the Portland Press Herald:


Ron’s obituary speaks volumes to the way he approached his life and his death: independently with self-determination.


MaineHealth, MaineGeneral, and Northern Light healthcare systems have all arrived at policies allowing their physicians to support patient decisions if they choose. And that’s as it should be. The Maine Death with Dingity Act is not just a law, it’s a codified standard of care for terminally ill patients who want the option.

It’s a beautiful thing, choice. Knowing whether your physician will support your decision can only enhance your confidence and trust in him or her. Be sure to ask. This is something you can discuss at any time and shouldn’t wait until you are terminally ill.

Until such time that life takes you, march forward. Show up in the face of adversity. Dare to change your world, even a little.