Why is the Inevitable the Unspeakable? I gave a talk yesterday, along with my esteemed colleague on the Compassion & Choices/N.CA board Dr. Bob Liner, to the good folks at C.L.I.R. (Center for Learning in Retirement.) We were there to shed a little light on what C&C does (education/advocacy/support re end-of-life care & choice), but conversations quickly veered everywhere else. One nice thing about C.L.I.R., among many nice things, I have to say -- they're an interesting & enlightened bunch -- is that they actually think they're going to die. Later, rather than sooner, we hope, but they are open about holding the opinion that it happens.
This is novel, here in the US of A. We are bombarded on all sides by notions that we should stay young and fit forever, and if we can't do that, we should at least stay alive in some form, including endless years comatose in a nursing home or endless days, weeks, months on life support. Etc, etc, etc, because otherwise the death panels will get you.
It all makes very little sense to me, and I'm older than you are.
Here's one fact: you have choices. If you might prefer to avoid some of the end-times cited above, or other horrors, you can write advance directives, fill out pre-hospital DNRs, sign up for some of the new early-detection of Alzheimers projects, look closely at what end-of-life alternatives actually look like & feel like, TALK to your friends and families about what you would (it's fine if you want to stay alive forever however, that's a choice too) or would not like done if you can't express yourself.
Here's another fact: Once you do that, confront choices, you are likely to live longer, better. There's data on that. What are you waiting for? Let me know if you want help doing it.
Here's a third fact: The planet was here before any of us got here, and it got along just fine without us. It'll probably get along just fine without us after we get on with whatever else there is.
OK, I'll get off this soapbox for a while and get on with the planet. Happy springtime to us all.
Causes Fran Johns Supports
Compassion & Choices of N.CA
San Francisco Interfaith Council