Euthanasia should be a right for all Americans

Thank you for sharing Mars Cramer’s touching story of how his wife, Mathilde, chose euthanasia as a way of dying in peace [“In the end, euthanasia was right for my wife,” Oct. 23].

Mathilde enjoyed a right that we deserve to have in the United States. If I am sick and suffering, with no hope of recovery, I should have the right to choose where and when to end my life, rather than being forced to continue to live it in pain, with the possibility that I may be deprived of a final hug for my own loved ones.

Several years ago, when the time had come to have my beloved German shepherd, Rita, “put to sleep,” I was content with my decision. After intense personal treatment by me, she had reached a point of no return. I took her to her veterinarian’s office and said goodnight as he gave her the shot that permanently removed her from any more pain or misery.

Why is it that pets have this right but we must continue to spend vast sums of money in order to lie alone in a cold hospital room, tended to by strangers in our final days as our children worry if it is yet the right time for them to come into town to say goodbye? There is something ultimately unfair about this.

Elisabeth S. Rubin, Annapolis

As someone recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which will surely shorten my life span and quite possibly lead to a situation like that experienced by Mars Cramer’s wife — where cancer will have done damage to my immune system and make me highly susceptible to infection — I have been doing some thinking about death. Your article is a valuable contribution for me and, I hope, in general for the many people who tend to avoid thinking about death, even though it does strike each of us eventually!

Victor Thuronyi, Takoma Park

My yard sounded tropical

My dog, A.J., and I were just coming home from our evening walk the other night when I heard the distinctive calls of a mockingbird. Lo and behold, there was Mr. Mockingbird hopping around our property singing every song in his repertoire. It threw me at first, because I almost thought we had a tropical bird in our yard.

We’re quite used to the mockingbird’s close relatives, the catbirds, hanging around in the spring and summer, as they dearly love the elderberry growing on our property. But this little fellow was singing his heart out with some interesting sounds.

I told my husband I hadn’t a clue why a mockingbird would be doing such (matinglike) calls this time of year, until I read your article [“The fall mockingbird recital,” Urban Jungle, Oct. 23], which explained the seasons of the bird’s calls.

Toni Moriarty, Fairfax