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It bothered me that when I die I might slip through the cracks, and I thought, "Well, that's just the way it is." You live in the country and life is cheap. And maybe you finally have to accept the fact that you did slip through the cracks. I just want to get out of here and go to sleep and just be left alone.

---From a video tape left by Ann Humphry

With her husband, Derek, Ann Wickett Humphry founded the Hemlock Society, a right-to-die group that publishes how-to books and campaigns for the liberalization of euthanasia laws. She was an active member, even helping her own parents commit suicide.

Then Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four days after she began chemotherapy, Derek left a message on their answering machine saying their marriage was over. Depressed and dying, Ann began to contemplate suicide. It was an easy option because she had a healthy supply of barbituates, courtesy of the Hemlock Society. But since committing suicide was so easy, she began to doubt the premise of the right to die movement.

Ann began to attack Derek and the Hemlock Society publicly. She continued the attack, long after her cancer went into remission and the threat of dying ceased, using her final act as a prime argument against the movement:

There. You got what you wanted. Ever since I was diagnosed as having cancer, you have done everything conceivable to precipitate my death...
You will have to live with this until you die.
May you never, ever forget.

After her suicide, Derek Humphry responded with a half-page ad in the New York Times: "Sadly, for much of her life, Ann was dogged by emotional problems, and..her life was a series of peaks and troughs. Suicide for reasons of depression has never been part of the credo of the Hemlock Society....What organization does not have casualties? Emotional illness knows no boundaries.(Italics from the author)

Taken fully from "Or Not To Be: A Collection Of Suicide Notes" by Marc Etkind.

More information can be found about the Hemlock Society on www.hemlock.org.

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