Tag Archives: Atul Gawande

PREPARE FOR DEATH

DEATH, A NEW BIRTH

There comes a time in all our lives when we must prepare for death. When we become old, get seriously ill, or are in great danger, we can’t be preoccupied simply with the question of how to get better unless “getting better” means moving on to a life beyond our death. In our culture, which in so many ways is death oriented, we find little if any creative support for preparing ourselves for a good death. Most people presume that our only desire is to live longer on this earth. Still, dying, like giving birth, is a way to new life, and as Ecclesiastes says: “There is a season for everything: … a time for giving birth, a time for dying”                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

We have to prepare ourselves for our death with the same care and attention as our parents prepared themselves for our births

DEATH IS INEVITABLE: A BAD DEATH IS NOT!

THE TROUBLE IS THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TIME!

There comes a time in all our lives when we must prepare for death. When we become old, get seriously ill, or are in great danger, we can’t be preoccupied simply with the question of how to get better unless “getting better” means moving on to a life beyond our death.

In our culture, which in so many ways is death oriented, we find little if any creative support for preparing ourselves for a good death. Most people presume that our only desire is to live longer on this earth.                                                                                                         Henry Nouwen

Still, dying, like giving birth, is a way to new life, and as Ecclesiastes says: “There is a season for everything: … a time for giving birth, a time for dying.”                                                                               Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

We have to prepare ourselves for our death with the same care and attention as our parents prepared themselves for our births.

better death

In our society we are not used to talk about the ‘D’ word. It seems that everyone is doing everything to avoid this topic. We pretend it will never happen to us, and when we lose someone close to us we find ourselves unable to deal with the loss and get paralyzed with fear. 

Christianity introduced the greatest revolution in human history, because it invites all humans to let go of their fear of death. We can get on with our divine destiny.

We live in an infantile society in which nearly everyone believes they are entitled to free ice-cream forever with absolutely no consequences. As for death, few believe it will really happen to them. Fewer still have the cognitive skills necessary to prepare adequately for a better death.

Comedian Woody Allen concisely summed up most people’s view of death with this quote:  “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

WHAT CAN YOU SAY?

One of the greatest gifts we can offer our family and friends is helping them to die well. But there is a moment in which we need to give those we love the permission to return to God, from whom they came. We have to sit quietly with them and say: “Do not be afraid … I love you, God loves you … it’s time for you to go in peace. … I won’t cling to you any longer … I set you free to go home … go gently, go with my love.” Saying this from our heart is a true gift. It is the greatest gift love can give.

DEATH BETTER

When Jesus died he said: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”. Luke 23:46 It is good to repeat these words often with our dying friends. With these words on their lips or in their hearts, they can make the passage as Jesus did.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?

Continue reading PREPARE FOR DEATH

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A BETTER DEATH

DEATHLY SILENCE

Dying people’s wishes are often unknown or ignored. Doctors often neglect palliative care, which involves giving an opioid for pain, treating breathlessness and counseling patients. Most doctors enter medicine to help people delay death, not to talk about its inevitability. But talk they must. A good start would be the wider use of the “Serious Illness Conversation Guide” drawn up by Atul Gawande. It is a short questionnaire designed to find out what terminally ill patients know about their condition and to understand what their goals are as the end nears. Early research suggests it encourages more, earlier conversations and reduces suffering.

better death

Living wills are rare outside America as illustrated by the following set of questions:

better death

The huge gap between what people want from end-of-life care and what they are likely to get is visible in the above survey. In all four countries the majority of people said they hoped to die at home. But fewer said they expected to do so—and even fewer said that their deceased loved ones had. Continue reading A BETTER DEATH

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Ten Regrets in Life

REGRETS IN LIFE BY THOSE ABOUT TO DIE

Ten Regrets in Life

  1. “Never pursuing dreams and aspirations”Ten Regrets in Life

  2. “I worked too much and never made time for my family”

Ten Regrets in Life

  1. “I should have made more time for my friends”

  2. “I should have said ‘I Love You’ a lot more”

The importance of love becomes more pronounced towards the end of life. It can be hard to tell someone that you love them, especially if you fear rejection. It’s better to make your love known than to spend the rest of your life dwelling on what could have been.

  1. “I should have spoken my mind instead of resenting things”

In truth, suppressing anger breeds bitterness, which leads to various diseases. Harboring bitterness prevents you from fulfilling your true potential.

When you express negative emotions properly, it allows you to let go of the resentment so you don’t have to carry it for the rest of your life.

  1. “I should have been a bigger person & resolved conflicts”

A lot of times, death beds and funerals are more miserable because of broken relationships that were never restored. This may result in a lifetime of hostility. You should never let your anger last for more than a day. Choose to forgive. Right the wrongs that you can, while you can.

  1. “I wish I had children”

As people age, they often feel lonely and long for the company of their sons and daughters. With today’s modern thinking, kids may be viewed as inconveniences. Keep in mind that your children will be the ones to show you love when you are old. 

  1. “I should have saved more money for my retirement”

Failing to plan for the retirement years leaves people destitute in their old age. It’s important to make a plan for yourself. Be careful not to spend too much on things you think you need now; think about providing a comfortable life for yourself in the future.

  1. “Not having the courage to live truthfully”

Looking back, people would wonder whether things would have been better if they were truly honest about whom they really are. They pretend to be someone they’re not.

Honesty is generally admired. If you don’t yet have the courage to be truthful to others, you can start being truthful to yourself.

  1. “Happiness is always a choice; I wish I knew that earlier”

People rarely realize that they can choose to be happy. It’s so easy to play the victim of circumstance. You sometimes pretend to be content, yet you’re too afraid to explore.

Make a choice to have a happy life. Be unafraid of change, and don’t worry about what others think of you. Learn to relax and appreciate the good things.

OUR LIFE AFTER DEATH

What happens after death? Is there life after death?

Continue reading Ten Regrets in Life

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