Montana is a state known for the independent spirit and steadfast individualism of its residents. Recently, Missoula resident Sally Moore penned a letter to the editor of the Missoulian newspaper, questioning the resistance by some residents for Death With Dignity. Here is Sally’s letter:
It should be last act of independence
Living in Missoula for 26 years, I have come to respect Montanans’ strong sense of individual rights, toughness, ingenuity, courage and devotion to the diversity of life that abounds in these wildernesses. There was even a time of considerable resistance to an initiative to adopt a seat-belt law … “people have the right to take their life into their own hands.”
Therefore, it puzzles me that many Montanans are opposed to supporting the right of their fellow Montanans who have a debilitating chronic ailment to obtain perscriptions from their own doctors in order to end what is no longer a life for these sufferers. It should be, for such a patient, the last act of independence and dignity. This act takes the same kind of individuality, strength, resourcefulness, bravery and passion for a fully lived life, that Montanans manifest and admire.
As an old lady, I have born witness to too many loved ones taking a long tortuous path to the agonizing end, never ever having wanted to exist beyond their capacity to be truly present, never ever wanting their beloveds to suffer the helplessness of not being able to liberate them. If you are opposed to self-deliverance under these circumstances and a chronic debilitating illness befalls you, let your dying follow its course. Please don’t obstruct your neighbor’s right to die differently.
Sally Moore, Missoula