Ariz. author reflects on Oregon woman's decision to die

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brittney Maynard stuck to her convictions and took her own life over the weekend. The decision reinvigorated the assisted suicide debate in this country. She wanted to take her own life before a brain tumor killed her.

Maynard would have been 30 years old later this month and it was Maynard's age that brought this debate to a younger generation.

Julian Blum is 86 years old but talk of death became his business when he wrote a book about it.

"At my age," Blum said. "You think about living and dying, this is very interesting to me."

Blum doesn't suffer from a disease but he watched Maynard’s case.

Blum said he admires Maynard for the decision she made

"Especially at her age," he said. "Awful thing about it to only be 29 years of age."

It wasn't so long ago, Blum contemplated his own life plans at the urging of his wife.

"Said Julian, you're getting old," he explained. "Past your life expectancy. Why don't you start putting your affairs in order?"

And so he did.

But he found some of the choices complicated. He took all his forms and homework and organized them into a book so anyone could fill them out. He even added a few jokes and cartoons to lighten the subject matter.

"Most people procrastinate about even filling out their last will and testament," he admitted. "Much less a living will that would deal with this particular subject."

Blum understands Maynard’s desire to take care of her affairs and leave on her own terms. He said it’s not just for her sake, but that of her family.

"You have loved ones you are going to leave behind," he said. "Why leave them in an emotional state with all kinds of problems they have to solve?"

End of life decisions are not always complicated, but they are personal. You can find more information on Blum’s website: www.dyingtoknow.info.

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