Maui Economic Opportunity hosted a discussion of end-of-life options – including Hawai‘i’s Our Care, Our Choice Act – led by the national nonprofit Compassion & Choices on Wednesday evening.
About 20 people attended the gathering, which featured Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices from Washington, D.C.; Mahina Paishon-Duarte, Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i community engagement; and Cindy Coleman-Jakubczak, who described her brother’s passing facilitated by the “death with dignity” act. MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe opened the gathering and introduced the speakers.
“My brother’s passing was beautiful,” said Coleman-Jakubczak. He chose the time and the day. With a doctor on hand, they mixed the drugs with apple juice.
“He hugged everyone and said ‘a hui hou.’ This is not goodbye,” she said.
He took the drink, viewing the ocean in his comfortable chair, hearing the refrain of “I Will Remember You” by Makaha Sons, and “filled with the love of everybody there.”
“He wanted this passed on: This is nothing to be afraid of, it’s not something to be horrified over,” she told the group.
“Is it for everybody? No, but it is an option. And you get to choose it,” Coleman-Jakubczak said. “The cancer doesn’t get to choose what’s going to happen to you and how you are going to go.”
Callinan provided an overview of the Hawai‘i Our Care, Our Choice Act, emphasized that the Act just offers another option and noted that people have different end-of-life perspectives, citing examples in her own family.
“What I have come to realize through this work is that when you are able to embrace the inevitability of your death, you live your life far fuller,” she said.
Paishon-Duarte applauded the work of Compassion & Choices for making diversity, equity and inclusion central to the work that they do.
“When we create culturally relevant and culturally responsive resources that produce images that look like us, using stories, phrases and language that are familiar to us, it doesn’t feel as clinical,” she said.
Among the handouts were a Compassion & Choices “Dementia Values & Priorities Tool” and “My End-of-Life Decisions: An Advance Planning Guide and Toolkit.”
Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit with a national reach that improves care, expands options and empowers everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. For more information, the Compassion & Choices website is CompassionAndChoices.org.
Cindy Coleman-Jakubczak described the passing of her brother, who was suffering from cancer and utilized the Our Care, Our Choice Act. Her presentation was part of a Compassion & Choices gathering hosted by Maui Economic Opportunity on Wednesday.
Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices, outlined Hawai‘i’s death with dignity law and the importance of having end-of-life options from which to choose.
Mahina Paishon-Duarte, Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i community engagement, discussed the value of culturally relevant and responsive resources.