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Death And Dying

If I ever have a terminal illness that leaves me unable to communicate, I don't think I want to be kept alive. I don't want a feeding tube. I don't want to be trapped, too dependent to even lift my own head.

If I ever have an illness that robs me of my mind, treat me with dignity and hurry my death along. The thought of becoming someone else in my mind or heart is repulsive and terrifying. I don't want to do that to the people I love.

Radical thought: I might actually be okay with assisted suicide in some situations. Um, don't freak out. I may take that back. But I will throw it out there for now.

My friend Jay recently blogged about writing a "final post." I have no plans on dying anytime soon, but I am thinking that it's a good idea. One thing that has come up over and over in the stories I have heard at hospice training is the importance of closure. If at all possible, I want to offer that.

Another reoccurring theme is our cultural discomfort with the reality of death. In one video, the family of a terminally ill child commented, "If we could just realize that we are all terminal, things would look different..."

We are all terminal. I am terminal. This is not a thought that I will be consumed by, but is also not a fact to be ignored. Coming to terms with my own mortality gives me the freedom to engage in others' mortality. And I want to be there. Because really, this is one of the biggest and most emotionally taxing life-realities that we each have to face.

Ok. There is no way to wrap this post up. I have written it during another hospice volunteer training session. I think everyone should take this training just to make us better at life.

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