Many people seriously prepare for life, from the joy of birth to baby steps and ultimate maturity. It seems to be the end-of-life that eludes us, or scares us, or disturbs us. Every friend we lose, every trip we take, every sharp memory of a death with which we awake, seems to encourage us to procrastinate or put off thoughts of our own ending.
For those of you who have seen the film or completed a Speaking of Dying/End-of-Life Planning Workshop or who have engaged in some other successful personal planning process, you know that there can be comfort, relief, joy, forgiveness, fearlessness, peace and even gratitude in planning for death. You understand why the subtext of the Speaking of Dying film is Living Deeply, Dying Well. Here are further examples of what Living Deeply, Dying Well can mean:
“Now I can relax and simply live, “says one participant who created a paid medical power-of-attorney for herself in Seattle and then connected that person with her older sister on the East Coast. She added that it comforts her to know the two of them can support each other when the time of her illness and/or death comes.
Although the roar of the jet engines had always triggered an enormous fear, another member of a Workshop group reflected on newfound ease, saying, “Now that I’m no longer afraid of dying, I can actually make travel plans without fear.”
Planning can even help set aside long-standing family communication issues and generate forgiveness. “Thanks to this Workshop and the conversations it generated, I am beginning to forgive my brother for childhood wrongs,” said another participant.
Many of our readers know that there are more important things in life than obsessing about death or finding excuses to put off the advanced planning paperwork. As one of you wrote, “Having my paperwork finally completed, I no longer spend time worrying about my death. I have more band width for other things.”