DENIAL IS NOT A RIVER IN EGYPT
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S FORUM, MICHIGAN CHAPTER
President & CEO
HOSPICE OF MICHIGAN
Life is the only terminal condition that exists from the time of conception. We all have to die but we do not all have to die badly. Unfortunately, a large number of people in this country do die badly – severely suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually, connected to tubes, and separated from their loved ones.
This is because we think death is an option in America. As a matter of fact, research indicates that baby boomers are more at ease talking about sex and drugs to their children than they are about talking to their parents about end-of-life wishes. All we have to do is think of the recent Terry Schiavo case to witness the effect that lack of planning and caring conversations about end-of-life wishes can have on the lives of the loved ones we leave behind.
We plan for births, confirmations and bat mitzvahs, graduations, college, weddings, careers, and retirement – we plan for everything but we do not plan for the last, greatest event in our lives, our death, and the transition to whatever may be on the other side of this life.
This evening, in our short time together, I would like to arm you with information so that you can begin your own caring conversations with your loved ones about your and their wishes at the end-of-life. I will spend a few minutes discussing what makes this last act of life so special and crucially important to you and your loved ones. I will talk with you about the current spectrum of end-of-life care options and challenges, what your rights are and what you should consider, I will give you a framework for how you can begin caring conversations with your loved ones called “The Five Wishes”, and then we will have an open dialogue to discuss any other issues you may want to have addressed.
Death: The Last Great Act of Life
How many of you like to go to plays? Most plays are at least two acts long and some are three act plays. What would the play be like if the last act was left unwritten and to chance? It is in the last act that all the play elements come together and there is resolution to all the events that have come before. So it is with real life.
Many important issues are addressed at the end-of-life. We can say goodbye to those we love and experience end-of-life closure. Every life has its hurts and unresolved issues. Every family, no matter how loving and healthy, as things left unsaid that we think we have time to say but put off. At end of life, time is a very precious commodity. If we have time and we are comfortable physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we can actually say the healing words of “I love you” – “Thank you” – “Please forgive me” – “I forgive you” to those that matter most to us in this world.
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