End of Life Issues (It’s Not All Morbid)

What’s Your Path?

It is the beginning of Memorial Day weekend as I write this. I am reminded that soldiers are the not the only ones who die; we all do. And facing that inevitable end is one of the many issues counselors sometimes work with.
I know, it’s not a pleasant thought for most of us. But the good news is, knowing that our time here is limited can help us to treasure that time more, to make the best use of it. Even a firm belief in reincarnation won’t protect against an end to this particular existence.
In my personal life, I have listened and reflected as people told me how they wanted to face their demise. We have discussed whether they preferred cremation, burial in a casket, whether they would like to find one of those rare natural cemeteries where your marker is wood and your plot isn’t guaranteed forever–where you can truly return to and be one with nature. I have honored decisions to donate bodies to medical schools, to utilize their bodies as a teaching tool for the next round of medical students.
People have told me what their wishes regarding end-of-life care, their desire to avoid or utilize extreme measures, and anything else that is covered in a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney (which I cannot emphasize the need for enough, and which can be executed free of charge through some sources.)
What I have heard most frequently is “You let me talk about that; thank you.”
I get it. Really. This person you love is about to leave you, forever, and you would rather talk about anything else. Anything. Else. It’s painful. And there is a perfectly good chance that your loved one doesn’t want to broach the topic either. But
frequently the person who is dying is the one most willing to face that fact and the associated issues.
A very common fear is “Will I be forgotten?” I haven’t forgotten the people who impacted my life. Their lives, their examples, their wisdom are my treasures, despite their no longer being here physically. You are unique; your influence will also linger.
My hope for you is that, during the time you have here, you live with joy, enthusiasm, and love.