Danna was already terminally ill when she parachuted into my life and landed a permanent place in my heart. I was presenting a PowerPoint on Zoom to a half dozen grassroots lobbyists who volunteered on my legislative action team, when Danna — arriving late to the Zoom – hove onto the scene.

“What the hell is ‘actively dying’?” she asked, peering at the phrase that had popped up on my slide. “Is that as opposed to ‘passively dying’?” She laughed then, adding, “Asking for a friend.”

Danna was the newest volunteer to join my team, and I knew nothing about her, other than leadership had advised that she had received a terminal diagnosis a couple of weeks earlier. She had promptly signed up to volunteer with my team; this was her first appearance. Working under the direction of Compassion & Choices, a national organization leading successful state-by-state campaigns across the country, our team advocated for medical-aid-in-dying for terminally-ill people seeking release from suffering in their final days.

“It is kind of a weird phrase,” I agreed, “which we can talk about…but since we had to start without you, Danna, would you like to introduce yourself to the group, and say a few words about how you came to join us?”

She would, and did.

To read the entire story that appears in the new THE MAGAZINE, click here.

Tara Flaherty Guy is a contributing writer at Saint Paul Publishing Company, and a graduate of the creative writing program at
Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Born and raised in Saint Paul, she is a devotee of both the Saintly City and the beloved Almanac named for it.

Posted in: Memories, People, Prose