We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise.
It could be suggested that the “good death” is falsely named in the field of thanatology and in the popular press. It implies an ideal state, one which of course, we cannot have. Never agonize over ideals when the problem is as urgent as death. Perhaps it should be renamed “the good-enough death,” one that is sufficient and satisfactory to both the dying person and the caregiver. It is the best that can be achieved at that time, in that place, by those people, with that problem, in their particular situation. Maya Angelou was right to say, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you know better, you will do better.” Death and dying are extremely personal. Continue reading
Listen in as we discuss: personal stories of dying loved ones, why you should not show up to the ER without an advance directive, reasons that Americans avoid conversations about death, how the Declaration of Independence is relevant to end of life discussions, how to have a “good death”….and much, much more…
Listen here–Blog Talk Radio Interview by Audrey Pellicano, New York Death Cafe Hostess and Grief Specialist
“Great show! Thank you both very much for sharing such powerful and needed information and for getting it into a book that is not only personal but offers so much practical information.
Let’s keep the conversation going!”
Standing up from my computer terminal to go see another patient, I caught a glimpse of a small, spindly frail woman being rolled by paramedics into one of my shock and trauma rooms.
Very calmly, I remarked, “That woman is dying.”
The medical student who was rotating with me was unnerved that I would make such a pronouncement out of a mere casual observance, “Oh my goodness! How can you just say that?” Continue reading
I know an elderly gentleman. He is 85 years old. He is a physician, and he is my friend. One day, he joked about his mother. She died 60 years ago. He said with a slightly wry smile, “I think I’m over it!” He isn’t. He knows it. I know it. And he knows that I know. He likes that. It is our special secret. Continue reading
Last week, I wrote about the concept of a “good death” and how it can be created. If there is meaning and utility in comparing and contrasting ideas, then this week I should identify what might constitute a “bad death” and suggest ways to avoid this Please prepare yourself, the “yuck” factor is, at times, fairly high in this discussion.
I will begin by begging you to avoid a bad death at all costs. I have seen too many and can assure you that this is not the path that you should allow yourself, or any one to take. You should plan to avoid a bad death with just as much motivation as you plan to create a good death for yourself and those whom you love and care for. Continue reading
I have decided that if I am going to continually encourage my very elderly and terminally ill patients to decline artificial life support measures at the end of the road, and instead, choose a “good death,” then I need to be able to explain and provide this “better” alternative more effectively.
So, I thought it time to revisit an article published in 2006, analyzing factors that define the concept of a “good death.” The author, Karen Kehl, MS, RN, ACHPN, gathered forty-two articles from diverse sources including medical, nursing, patient perspectives and sociological literature, and extracted concepts most frequently mentioned as contributing to the creation of a good death. Continue reading