“I am grateful for witnessing your courage, your strength is inspiring, your wisdom is eternal, and you are not alone”: These words, written on a paper heart with irises around it, sit on my desk. I feel fortunate to be a behavioral health clinician, providing therapy to patients with cancer who are undergoing radiation at Stanford’s Cancer Center.
A week and a half before, I went to Seattle to see my mother for the last time. I tried to coax her to eat and to move, but at sixty-five pounds she was declaring herself no longer part of the living world. She was, quite deliberately, choosing to die.