Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Death

Do you ever listen to, or stop by, Radio Open Source? Christopher Lydon has my favorite voice on radio, so I dont really care what the topic is, I just stop by to listen.

However I listened closely tonight and posted this comment there about the show The Good Death.

I’m a pastor who works mostly with older folks. As I sit with these lovely people, who are dying or getting ready to die, I’m struck by this: it’s not necessarily the money spent or not that makes a good death. It’s not even the health that the person came into old age with (although I’m with all you good eaters and exercisers in practice). Instead, it seems to me that people who can die well have two things going for them. First, they have the ability to love — love themselves, other people and God, however God is named for them.

Second, they have perfected in their whole life the ability to let go. There has been a lot of talk here about control — controlling your death by what and how you eat, staying healthy, talking to your family, exercising, etc, but ultimately death is really about really letting go, about surrender.

This has been on my mind lately, so the show was very timely. I was talking with a college pal who came through town this week (hi J!) about worry and she said something like "I didnt realize until recently that I had an option to worry, and a choice about what I was going to worry about." Living with a husband who is terminally ill (which is what I say about Jeff since he will most likely die from the effects of muscular dystrophy, although that could be in 5 years or 15 years or 25 years) and with a son who was seriously ill at birth and would have died without medical intervention puts me closer to death than lots of people I know who are my age. I have thought and prayed alot about this, and I dont know why it it is, but I dont worry about it. I dont even fear it - death I mean.

I've written and erased a dozen poignant last sentences to this blog, but maybe there isn't one. Maybe there is only this question. What does A Good Death mean for you?

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