October 13, 2019 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Anna arrives in Portland to reconnect with her estranged brother, Michael, whom she has not seen in 15 years. Both siblings are happy to reunite, even as the emotional causes for their separation bubble to the surface. When Anna was 17, their alcoholic father tossed her out after she revealed that she was a lesbian. Anna was forced into homelessness and a hard life on the streets, where she fostered her creative side among street artists in San Francisco. Her talent was eventually recognized by a gallery, and through that break, Anna was able to re-establish herself in a new, healthier life.
One day, in the gallery, she meets Luisa who is visiting from Utah. They fall in love and move back to Salt Lake to start their lives together. Then, Anna tragically discovers that she has inoperable, terminal colon cancer. Even after months of brutal chemotherapy, the cancer has actually spread.
Her return to Oregon is two-fold. Not only has she come to reconnect with Michael, but to establish residency in order to utilize Oregon’s unique Death with Dignity Act. When Michael finds a brochure explaining the process, understandably, he does not take it well. He pleads with her to reconsider. She is fiercely determined and unwavering in her decision to end her life on her own terms. Meanwhile, Anna has also found a bond with Michael’s brilliant and quirky neighbor, Gary, who suffers from Asperger’s, OCD, and agoraphobia.
Their awkward, but endearing interactions lead to a full fledged friendship as Gary even confronts some of his own fears in order to help Anna. And although Michael is still staunchly against this entire plan, his girlfriend, Shonda, embraces Anna as one of the family, and helps her ease her pain with cannabis. As her final days grow closer and the symptoms become insufferable, Luisa, Anna’s partner also arrives in Portland.
It is not easy, but Michael eventually sees what the rest seem to already know – that Anna is in unbearable pain, she is going to die, and it is her right to choose how her last days are spent. And, it is his responsibility to be there, care for her, and share in the last memories they will have together. They find closure through spreading their father’s ashes. They spend a joyous day at the Oregon Coast. Then, when the time is right, Anna addresses each with a heartfelt goodbye as they surround her with love during her last breaths.
13 people are attending Here Awhile