Los Angeles Times: One last trip: Gabriella Walsh’s decision to die — and celebrate life — on her own terms
Aug 1, 2022 California
An excerpt from the Los Angeles Times feature article, “One last trip: Gabriella Walsh’s decision to die — and celebrate life — on her own terms,” published August 1, 2022:
Gabriella Walsh knew she wanted to die on a Saturday.
She’d settled on July 16, dressing that morning in a flower crown and a T-shirt with a picture of a dragonfly, an image that had comforted her in recent weeks. She took a deep inhale from a bottle of lavender oil and listened to a playlist of sea sounds.
Earlier in the morning, friends and family nuzzled up against her in bed. Rest easy, they told her, and keep wandering. “I just feel like I’m going on a trip,” she said calmly.
Within two hours, she would drink a fatal dose of medications prescribed under California’s death-with-dignity law, which allows some terminally ill patients to request drugs to end their lives.
The option had given her profound comfort in her final weeks — as had knowing that, in the end, she’d have Jack Barsegyan, the registered nurse who managed her hospice care, and Jill Schock, a death doula, at either side of her bed.
“My Jack and Jill,” she often called them.