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It is still unclear whether a Georgia court will determine if advising someone and perhaps even holding his hand as he intentionally inhales a lethal quantity of helium is a criminal act. No court in Georgia has ever addressed this specific question, or the more philosophical one: What, exactly, does it mean to help someone die? And what, for that matter, does it mean to help someone live, to give them everything you have, and fail?
Let me just start at the beginning—or my beginning of it, anyway, since this is not a story about me but more about the illustrious Sandy Hartman and my experience with her. Sandy’s own beginning was in 1949, when she was born to a penniless single mother in a tiny Illinois town.
Sandon Jones went in the ground on a Wednesday morning, 141 days after his death. No friends or relatives attended his funeral. The ceremony lasted not quite two minutes and was shared with another man, whose coffin was placed in the same hole. Neither man received a headstone.
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