The following comes from an August 11 People article by Karen Mizoguchi:
In early July, Betsy Davis sent out invitations to a party she referred to as a “rebirth.”
“These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness,” her e-mail invitations read, according to AP.
Davis, a 41-year-old artist from California, spent the last three years losing control of her body due to the debilitating illness of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and had been planning one final gathering that concluded with a physician-assisted suicide.
Davis invited over 30 friends and family to join her at a beautiful home in Ojai on July 23-24. She had put together a fun-filled weekend with every hour detailed with activities for her loved ones who arrived from New York, Chicago and across California.
As the final hours counted down, friends and family kissed her goodbye and gathered for a group photo. “The worst was needing to leave the room every now and then, because I would get choked up. But people got it,” said Davis’ sister Kelly, who wrote about her sister for local news outlet Voice of San Diego. “They understood how much she was suffering and that she was fine with her decision. They respected that. They knew she wanted it to be a joyous occasion.”
Davis was wheeled out to a canopy bed on a hillside, where she looked out at her last sunset. Dressed in a Japanese kimono she bought on a bucket-list trip she took after being diagnosed in 2013, she took a combination of morphine, pentobarbital and chloral hydrate prescribed by her doctor at 6:45 p.m.
Betsy died four hours later surrounded by Kelly, her caretaker, her doctor and her massage therapist.
Guests called the gathering Betsy’s final performance as friend and cinematographer Niels Alpert explained that “what Betsy did gave her the most beautiful death that any person could ever wish for.”
“By taking charge, she turned her departure into a work of art,” he concluded.