Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Another thought brought on by my recent health issue.

There comes a time when all of us will think about death and dying. It is an inevitable process and one that we choose not to think about for obvious reasons, but it is one that must be considered in order to evaluate life choices and validate transition considerations.

I’ve often wondered since we all know it's coming someday, why we don’t spend some quality time when we are healthy and sharp minded to think about the process, not the illness or what gets you, but the process, the experience that is the catalyst of change.

For me, it is not the dying that concerns me; it is the way I go. Like many of you, I have children and the last thing I want (please pardon the unintended pun) is to be a burden to them or even to others.

I rather like the ice flow idea of the nomadic peoples of the north or the itinerant tribes of ancient times who would just leave you behind as they traveled to new pastures.

Since that’s not done in modern societies we have to think about the process and our personal responsibility and participation in it.

Nearly ten years ago Bill Moyers hosted a PBS series on Death and Dying. It was excellent and I hope it will be repeated someday. Most of us have not let our loved ones know what are wishes are.

Do we want extraordinary measures to keep us alive when the time is apparent that we are dying? Do we have our affairs in order, a will, and a living will? Do we wish to be buried or cremated and where would we like our remains to rest? Other than leaving a will to disburse the stuff I’ve accumulated, I don’t suppose I’ll much care what happens to the suit I wore in this consciousness.

These are all tough things to talk about for our culture celebrates the sanctity of life, and finds it difficult to acknowledge its ending.

Besides the PBS Moyers series, Time magazine that same year had a cover story called "Dying on our Own Terms," I've read it. I hope you do too.

We may not go gently in that goodnight, but we are going to go someday. Talking about it may make the passage a little more palatable for everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read that sometimes in wiser cultures the elders, when sensing their time had come, simply wandered into the woods and stayed quiet under a tree until their time came.
If you try this, please stay close to the house tho. If you're still with us by lunch, you're going to want a sandwich. ;-)
Take care of yourself. Good to plan, but I hope you're around for many years to come.

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