Advances in medical care and pharmaceuticals are a great thing. I'm all for health.
I'm not so much a fan of the idea that we all need to live as long as possible.
There are too many people in nursing homes; lonely, miserable, and wishing for death for me to buy into the longevity lie. Living a long time is not even a logical goal in my book. So many are living joyless lives as it is- why prolong them? So much money is spent on healthcare- and a shocking amount of it in the last days of lives that are NOT GOING TO BE IMPROVED BY "LIFESAVING" MEASURES. Yes, it's taboo.... but we are all going to die.
Why is death so difficult for us now? In generations past families surrounded loved ones, prepared for death, and accepted it as a normal part of life. Most people died at home. Many were cared for by their own families, even when they had access to healthcare or hospitals.
Now, most people have never watched a loved one die. They have not even wanted to be at the bedside of someone leaving this life, nor have they had physical contact with a dead body. These things now seem strange to most.
Isn't it strange that a normal part of life is strange? Is it odd to anybody else that drug commercials promise a "decreased chance of death"? Does anyone else see value in embracing what is unavoidable?
Yes, yes, and I DO!
I have had the great honor and pleasure of being nearby when those I care about take their last breath. Yes, it was a pleasure- every single time. Those who were prepared, comfortable, and surrounded by those they loved slipped beautifully out of this world and into the next. Some were fortunate enough to know that an illness or disease was taking over and their final days were approaching. Some had only a short time, even just moments, to prepare for the end of life. Often elderly people are aware that their final moments are approaching even in the absence of discernible illness. Some of them embrace it with sheer joy. It can be an experience as amazing as birth; lovely, awe inspiring, and ethereal.
The few that were not prepared, otherwise unable or unwilling to let go, or in excruciating and uncontrollable pain were able with a final breath to cease from struggle. Sometimes death is the only relief.
To be clear, this is not about assisted suicide, over medicating, or withholding life sustaining measures when life is the best option. But life is not always the best option.
I don't know where the conversation goes from here. There are so many gray areas including the dangers of deciding which life is worth living and which is futile. There are dangers in deciding that lives beyond a certain age or infirmity or ability to contribute become dispensable. There are precious lives that will be difficult and expensive and burdensome and brutal but are worth living. It is not a matter of choosing who will live or die or why or what criteria is basis for removal of support. This is not about saving money or giving or taking away choices.
This is about life; living and dying. And it is a conversation that needs to begin.
It needs to begin somewhere. In each home, each community, and in every setting there must be a sensible discourse about how we want to do this thing; individuals and as a species. What is not discussed cannot be decided upon. We have to fight this futile fear of the end. We have to turn away from the foolishness that tells us, "if we don't talk about it maybe it wont happen". We have to fight for our lives by fighting the fear that rules our hearts. That is a fight worth fighting.