Woman With ALS Peacefully Ends Her Life, But Not Until After Her Party
"Wear what you want, speak your mind, dance, hop, chant, sing, pray, but do not cry in front of me. OK, one rule."
Most people who are alive and healthy are afraid of dying. Many people who face death are usually filled with sadness, fear, regrets, and confusion. Betsy Davis (41) decided to live her last days with happiness and loved ones, as she turned her planned death into a celebration.
Betsy, an artist from California, had been losing control of her body for the past three years due to the debilitating illness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
So she put together a final gathering before taking a fatal combination of drugs to end her life, and became one of California's first residents to use the state's new law allowing doctors to help the terminally ill end their lives.
"She knew early on that she would rather not be stuck in a horrible state of total body paralysis and slowly suffocating to death," Niels Alpert, Davis's old flame, and close friend, told Today.
In early July, Betsy sent out invitations to her party that she referred to as a "rebirth".
"These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness," her e-mail invitations read, according to AP.
"Dear rebirth participants you're all very brave for sending me off on my journey," she wrote in her invitation. "There are no rules. Wear what you want, speak your mind, dance, hop, chant, sing, pray, but do not cry in front of me. OK, one rule."
Betsy invited over 30 friends and family to join her at a beautiful home in Ojai, where they spent a fun-filled weekend cat-walking, eating, listening to music, talking, and watching movies.
"The worst was needing to leave the room every now and then, because I would get choked up. But people got it," said Betsy's sister Kelly. "They understood how much she was suffering and that she was fine with her decision. They respected that. They knew she wanted it to be a joyous occasion."
Davis was wheeled out to a canopy bed on a hillside, where she looked out at her last sunset. Dressed in a Japanese kimono she bought on a bucket-list trip she took after being diagnosed in 2013, she swallowed a combination of morphine, pentobarbital and chloral hydrate prescribed by her doctor at 6:45 p.m.
Betsy died four hours later, surrounded by Kelly, her caretaker, her doctor and her massage therapist.
Niels explained that what Betsy did gave her the most beautiful death that any person could ever wish for. "By taking charge, she turned her departure into a work of art," he concluded.
All those invited have promised to gather again next year for Betsy's birthday in June to scatter her ashes.
Thank you Betsy for showing us the beauty in something most people couldn't.
SHARE with your friends and family to show them how to find the beauty in everything.