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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Is death the enemy?

There's a neat article over at by Richard Wagner called "Is death the enemy?" He writes that "for many nursing and healing professionals death is the enemy.  Then he lists four points to consider "if encountering mortality is our goal." 

I will paraphrase thes points here:

1.  Death is a normal part of life.  Well, it is. 

2.  Many of us have trouble accepting that we will die.  Why me?  Why do I have to die so young? I have so much more to do. 

3.  Living a good death begins the moment we accept our mortality.  If we live our lives every day as though any moment may be our last, the end comes better for us.  He explains, " Facing our mortality allows us to achieve a greater sense of balance and purpose in our life as well."
The final point I'm going to quote directly:
4.  Dying can be a time of extraordinary alertness, concentration, and emotional intensity. It’s possible to use the natural intensity and emotion of this final season of life to make it the culminating stage of our personal growth. Imagine if we could help our sick, elder, and dying clients and patients tap into this intensity. Imagine if we had this kind of confidence about our own mortality.

I think there is another that should be added here, and this is as follows:

5.  Those who believe in god die better.  It's true.  I have observed those who believe reading moments before they die, and I ask them about it, and they say, "God needs wise people."  Those who don't believe are the ones who go out grumpy and irritable.  They are tough to care for.

6.  It is better to die with grace and dignity, than to try to punish yourself with every remedy just so you can live another week.  Do you really want to be intubated if you have end stage cancer? Do you really want to have CPR done on you if you're going to die anyway?  Do you want to die with a mask on your face and a tube in every orriface, or do you want to die on morphine in the comfort of your own bed? 

So I guess what I think about this is death is not the enemy at all, but, as noted above, a part of life.  We're going to die some day.  It's not whether or not this will happen, but how you deal with it.  As I've stated before, I think it's best to go out with grace and dignity. 

What do you think?

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