FACING THE INEVITABLE BEST DONE EARLY
I consider one of the blessings of my life was working on a cancer service in my early twenties. I became intimately acquainted with death, not the romantic deaths portrayed in the media, but the true horrors that were so often a part of dying.
The earlier we give up some romantic fantasies, the stronger we are emotionally. Since my work with cancer patients, I have lived my life knowing I would die, hoping I would regret little and that it would be in my power to die with some grace, but most importantly, not to have my death prolonged. I have few regrets. I have written my Living Will, told my children when to pull the plug and hopefully spared them much angst about what I would want. If I cannot communicate, I want to kept free from pain, and don’t want to live any long than two weeks on any life support system if two doctors agree recovery is unlikely. I fear becoming demented and that is another whole problem area and I hope I see the signs in time to arrange my death.
I am hoping my sons will read Farmer’s book, but suspect not. Will you?The subject is painful, but unavoidable and as with most things in life better talked about and faced than denied.
Doing so is not easy, but as the existentialists point out, it does sharpen the ability to enjoy the now and keep one focused on what matters. I am not suggesting dwelling morbidly on the inevitable, but also not denying it.
I am also suggesting that knowing death can come suddenly, you give up grudges that keep you from talking to those you love. Death of a loved one almost always brings guilt or regret, but knowing it might swoop down and take one you love, helps you remember what matters, so you constantly practice kindness and forgiveness, It is the only way to assure the important relationships in your life live as long as you do.