Stephanie Packer wants to be the face of a Right to Live movement — for as long as she draws breath.
“I just want to spend every last second with my kids,” Packer, a terminally ill married mother of four kids, ages 7 through 13, tells me.
Nearly two years ago, Brittany Maynard, at just 29 years old, became the face of the Right to Die movement now sweeping across the United States. In Oregon, surrounded by loved ones, she took her own life, legally, before a brain tumor could do it for her, with a self-administered overdose of physician-prescribed barbiturates. I supported her choice to end her agony.
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But at what cost?
Packer struggles to open her eyes each blessed morning. And the cultural landscape to which she wakes has shifted dramatically of late into one of pro-death. In June, her home state of California enacted a law permitting doctor-assisted suicide. And something terrible happened.
Premature passing away with medical help is now widely seen as preferable to painful, prolonged living, Packer says. But she’ll fight to live with every last labored gasp drawn from her oxygen tube before ultimately accepting a natural end.
“I want my kids to see that death is a part of life,” she says.