I’ve developed a keen interest in the way our country regards human life as we approach the end of it. This is one of the reasons I’m so interested in holding discussion groups, Death Cafes, for persons of all ages. We, as a whole, seem to shy away from real conversations about death – with family members and within ourselves. And yet we all know we can’t be here forever (heavens, what a thought….all of us never leaving….!).
Our rapidly-evolving medical research and methods have enabled a lifespan that was inconceivable just a few decades ago. But just because we’re learning how to increase the quantity of years doesn’t mean we’ve learned how to improve the quality of those years.
When we allow ourselves to consider how we’d like to conduct our final years, months, days, we are giving ourselves permission to create the scenario we’d like to experience. We can plan ahead for so many details, from drafting distribution of assets and Advance Directives to deciding whether we’d like laughter and celebrating or religious passages and protocol to follow our passing.
These are thoughts I’d like to explore with you all as I look ahead at putting together this newsletter for the Cleveland Memorial Society. I find myself reading all kinds of literature about all things related to the end of life: home hospice, palliative care, medical interventions to prolong life, dying with dignity (laws and ethics), funerals, coffins, urns, and some strange and unique ideas about “going out with a bang”!
I welcome your input, any articles you all may come across you’d like for me to share on your behalf, notices about lectures or discussion groups, books or webinars, personal experiences or rumination you have had on end of life issues. I’ll get you started with this rather unique way to memorialize yourself when the inevitable happens (i.e., you die)….see the article about coffins!
Kate Smith, Editor