APTOPIX Choosing the End

FILE — In this May 10, 2019, photo, Robert Fuller, left, consoles friends gathered on and near his bed as he makes his final preparations before dying, in Seattle. The day he picked to die, Fuller had the party of a lifetime. Later that day, Fuller plunged two syringes filled with a fatal drug cocktail into a feeding tube in his abdomen. He was one of about 1,200 people who have used Washington's Death with Dignity Act to end their lives in the decade since it became law.

To the editor — “Washington man took the coward's way out by ending his life” (Sept. 3 Yakima Herald-Republic) was one of the most disrespectful and disgusting letters I have ever read. It was an unnecessary shot at a man who chose to end his life with dignity.

My mom passed away after battling cancer for nearly a decade, so I have seen firsthand how a terminal illness can take away one’s autonomy and make life difficult to live with no end to the pain, doctor’s trips, or fear. Had my mom chosen to end her treatment sooner, would she had been considered a coward? No, absolutely not. No one who chooses to end their life instead of dealing with the consequences of a terminal illness is a coward.

If you are a friend or family member of someone who has chosen to utilize Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, or if you’re someone considering it, do not let people like the author of “Washington man took the coward's way out by ending his life” make you think for one second that your loved one is a coward.

SAM JOHNSON

Yakima