History has amply displayed one incontrovertible fact – everyone dies. Given our human condition, the big question some of us would like to know is, “When is it going to happen?”
Another big question is, “What is a good death?” I feel comfortable saying I have a unique, “hands-on” perspective on this often-avoided topic. Derived from professional and personal experiences, mainly working in the wonderful world of geriatrics and, unfortunately, having endured several years of Stage IV cancer treatment myself, I have experienced many, many an example of what I feel to be a life well-lived.
Each human life is distinctive, colored by an array of variables including attitude, physical health and the involvement of other people, whether family, friends or caregivers. Some of these variables may be beyond our control, but many are not, and one of the most clear personality traits that almost always bring a comfortable death is a life led with kindness. I’ve also witnessed that people with strong spiritual beliefs die more peacefully.
Perhaps the most important factor in a good death is coming to terms with “the cycle of life,” recognizing that leaving this world can and does carry “equal weight” with being born. My personal observation is that people almost always die in the manner by which they lived.
While no one knows what waits on the other side, death need not be feared by those who have embraced all facets of life in an honorable (and dare I say, fun?) way. I’d like to close with a favorite quote which adorns all of Remain At Home Senior Care’s forms, business cards and even our envelopes; it is my company’s mantra and the foundation by which we proudly provide the very best in medical and non-medical companion care to our valued clients in our hometown, Athens, Georgia:
“AND IN THE END, IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT. IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS.”
— Abraham Lincoln