The day he picked to die, Robert Fuller had the party of a lifetime. […]
With an elaborately carved walking stick, he shuffled around to greet dozens of well-wishers and friends from across the decades, fellow church parishioners and social-work volunteers. The crowd spilled into a sunny courtyard on a beautiful spring day.
A gospel choir sang. A violinist and soprano performed “Ave Maria.” A Seattle poet recited an original piece imagining Fuller as a tree, with birds perched on his thoughts.
And when the time came, “Uncle Bob” banged his walking stick on the ceiling to command attention.
“I’ll be leaving you in a little over an hour,” he announced.
A sob burst. Fuller turned his head sympathetically toward its source.
“I’m so ready to go,” he said. “I’m tired.”
Later that afternoon, Fuller plunged two syringes filled with a light brown liquid — a fatal drug combination mixed with Kahlua, his favorite alcohol — into a feeding tube in his abdomen. He was one of about 1,200 people who have used Washington’s Death with Dignity Act to end their lives in the decade since it became law. ….