Thanksgiving is hardly the time to think of shaking off these mortal coils; it’s a time for celebrating family and friends over a copious meal punctuated by good conversation and memorable stories of the year past. Yet of course, death and dying are not respectful of season or holiday or the conventions of polite society. Planning one’s exit is never too soon and frequently too late.
For some the question is one of pure selfishness: what do you want for yourself? Do you want above all to prolong to the last possible breath the final departure, no matter the impositions and burdens and financial implications? Or do you want to avoid suffering, futile efforts and the degradations implicit in incontinence, immobility, loss of autonomy, paralysis, mental degradation, and physical dependency? Each of us has our lodestar as to what is desired at the end of life.
A recent article in WaPo highlights the dilemma faced by those approaching death and understanding the inevitable decline which lies ahead. It is not pleasant reading, but it is reality!
Ed Tiryakian, J.D., MBA, founded Dying Right NC in 2015 and is its Executive Director. He previously worked in international banking in Asia before retiring to his native NC.He believes End of Life issues are one of society’s most pressing challenges as we all live longer and the medicalization of the dying process continues to conflict with the individual’s right to choose his or her end.