Regarding “A matter of love and death” (Page A1, Feb. 7), about a couple who, according to relatives, committed suicide because of the wife’s terminal illness:

I have been an intimate witness to many kinds of disability, suffering and death since I was a young child. One of my first jobs was as nurse’s aide in a nursing home. I currently work as a caregiver in the hospice field.

It is difficult to speak to the experience of being close to another person’s pain and imminent death. People who care for the dying often are at a loss for words for the impact it has on them, but most are humbly aware of the privilege they are entrusted with.

I don’t deny that I feel a natural fear of disability and pain. But there is something very powerful that happens when we accept the given, and don’t try to impose our own terms.

My experience as a caregiver and as a family member helps me understand that if and when I am at the receiving end of hospice care, I will be part of something that will grant me courage and comfort, my death dignity, and give enduring value to the lives of those who survive me.

Zoe Gaston

Cape Elizabeth

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