Thursday, October 9, 2008

Demystifying Dying

We're showcasing a bittersweet story on KobreGuide today: Living to the End. On the one hand it's a first-person video chronicle of a woman's death by cancer, documenting her last three months -- inherently a tragic tale. On the other hand, the woman -- Lovelle Svart, a former employee of the newspaper that embarked on this online venture -- offers invaluable insights and humor, straight talk and compassion.

What makes it all especially fascinating is that it takes place in Oregon, the only state that legally allows doctor-assisted suicide in terminal cases. Svart had endorsed the Supreme Court case that eventually blocked an attempt to overturn Oregon’s unique Death with Dignity Act. But she still had to make a personal choice about whether to use the law, and so we get a close-up opportunity to see someone wrestle with that decision. As you can see from the photo above, Svart ultimately opted to drink a lethal cocktail to end her suffering. (But not before dancing a polka one last time.)

In her final months, Svart -- and the community of viewers who generously shared their comments and perspectives about her evolving story on The Oregonian's website ( -- had plenty to say, not only about death and dying, but about life and living. Right up to the end.

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