Birth________ Death:

Like a book, what is in between is what matters most.

When reading a book, was it the cover that attracted us to it?  More likely the impact of its content is where appreciation and fulfillment lie.

Why would we suddenly then be afraid of that last page or back cover? Certainly the better the book, the more likely we would feel varying emotions as it draws near. There is also the option to stop reading the book by stopping somewhere along the way. Some believe that once started the book must be finished no matter what. This is a choice as well. And for some, reading is never a possibility. There may be too many obstacles to overcome. I have also heard “Never judge a book by its cover.” Often people are anxious and excited to reach the end of the story. Now apply this to life.

Why would we suddenly be afraid of what we all know is the inevitable outcome: The end of the book. Why would we care more for the beginning of the book than the end? Depending on the content, the comprehension of the reader and the expectations, the stage is set. The pages of our lives are turning each day. To a degree we often have the ability to do some editing. Others may be helpless to do anything. But we all will finish this life book someday.

In our excitement to improve and lengthen life, we have unknowingly vilified death, or the end of the book. Long ago, we cared for our loved ones in stoic acceptance as they died in our homes. We honored and comforted them. Loving, laughing, crying, grieving and sharing in their care as they died.

Today, everything is an emergent crisis which we must repair! Death has become unacceptable. And in many cases, the trauma, disease or advancing natural decline is so severe that no amount of medication, procedures or diagnostic testing can reverse the process. And there is often unnecessary suffering endured in place of honest communication. Afterwards, when all the possibilities have been exhausted, we warehouse these poor souls and give the buildings softer names to offset the harsh realities within their walls.

Quantity of time has become preferable to quality of life in hope of miracles, cures, new science and luck.

I have been a nurse since 1993; and 11 years in Hospice. Each day passes with a new chance to lessen the stress for those around me. I have seen the acceptance of our mortality, and at times, together with faith, replace the fear of death, with appreciation and anticipation of what the next book may be. If even one person has a softer path from this life, to that final page and the back cover because of something we have done or said, then we are sincerely thankful.

Caring Choices is committed to this mission.

© 2016 Caring Choices