chapter  17
14 Pages

On Life, Death, and the Nature of Limbo: Assisted Suicides in the CFIDS Community

Even serious Internet stories read like a transcribed game of telephone, so when I heard about Bill 's death, I refused to believe it.

I knew Bill by his online moniker but not by his real name, and even though I didn't know hirn, I doubted he would turn to the famous suicide doctor to stop his pain. He was, by my estimation, a lot like me. "BostonBill" and I were members of the same selfappointed oligarchy of support group leaders on America Online. My own group had been running two years, so I shared e-mail ephemera and goodwill with the other fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) chat leaders. Bill was a proactive organizer with severe fibromyalgia who experienced unrelenting pain. I convinced myself that the news reports, which named hirn as Dr. Jack Kevorkian's latest assisted suicide, were just medical tall tales, like the Internet Invasion of the Kidney Snatchers stories that had recently entered cyber legend. BostonBill was lost before lever got to know his real name, his quirks, or what his family thought of his decision to die.