Nobody wants to talk about dying. The kids don’t want to hear us talk about it, but I told mine, “You need help coming into this world, and you need help going out of this world.” It’s true: we spend almost nine months helping a mother prepare for birth. We do not, however, spend any time discussing what a person wants at the end of their life.

Fortunately, I met the people from the nonprofit Oak Park End-of-Life Options group.

Their table at the Farmers Market made me stop to inquire about their sign: “Your Death. Who Decides?” I have always believed that how much medical intervention you want at the end of your days should be your personal decision.

As the local chapter of Compassion and Choices, the group gave me information about the subject and especially the free booklet titled, “My End-of-Life Decisions, An Advance Planning Guide and Toolkit.” It is a much more comprehensive booklet than the DNR, Polst and five wishes documents I’ve seen before.

I feel so much better since I filled out the booklet and have been able to share my end-of-life wishes with my children and my physicians. You can get your free booklet at

Sign up to volunteer there and they’ll route you back to the local Oak Park-area group to get involved further.

Finally, I support medical aid in dying and am working with this local group to get it authorized in Illinois (as it is in 10 other states and Washington D.C.) If I am terminally ill and hospice is not enough to relieve my pain, I would prefer to use this option to die in peace at home with my family.

Martin Colchamiro
Oak Park

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