Triumph at the Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon, for me, has always been about celebrating life and the human spirit. My father ran the race about 25 times. My mother ran it eight or ten times. The picture above shows them at the starting point in Hopkinton the first time Mom ran it. I dropped them off there and took the picture.
Once the race began and my parents disappeared into a sea of runners I popped back into the car and found a place along the race course, close… More
The Conversation Project is an online tool that helps families have the difficult discussion about end of life decisions. I have written a couple of articles about it and I recommend you take a look at them to learn the background for the project. I also described the free Starter Kit that helps guide us through the process.
Online Starter Kit for the Conversation Project
Family Caregiving and the Conversation Project
The following video may be the most useful of all. … More
Here is a simple but really important piece of advise to remember when you are attending someone who is dying.. You must assume that the person can hear you even if they are unconscious.
My mother had expressed the desire for a root beer float while she was dying, but still conscious. One of my sisters went to the grocery store for vanilla ice cream and root beer. By the tie she returned, Mom had drifted into unconsciousness.
The adult children, my siblings,… More
Some Memories Never Fade
Fifty years ago this coming May 9th, after peddling my bike home from 4th grade at Burns Park Elementary School, I found my red-eyed mother sobbing in our living room with the Ann Arbor Chief of Police, a couple of family members and several strangers. They told me that my father, AAPD Detective Sergeant Headley Downey, would not be coming home ever again – something bad had happened while he was out on an investigation earlier that day. After… More
The Legal Right to Choose
Hastening dying by refusing food and drink is legal. If the patient has ability to communicate this wish, he or she can do so. It is equally legal to refuse to assist.
The decision to voluntarily stop eating and drinking is different from the loss of appetite or disinterest in food or drink that is often part of the end stage terminal illnesses. The patient should be well-informed and have the emotional and physical support of family, friends, or… More
Why A Starter Kit for The Conversation Project?
The single greatest obstacle to having a “good death” is denial. We don’t want to know about death, and we certainly don’t want to think about our own deaths. Instead, we do our best not to “peek”. So we arrive at the end of our lives without having thought about what we would like, much less how we could ease the grief of those we leave behind.
In February, I posted an article titled, Family… More
Spring Brings New Insights for Life
This morning I awoke to the sound of doves cooing, sun streaming in the window, and blue skies. Oh, my! How wonderful to be alive. Insights for the intentional life are endless. Living in a four season climate means extended cold weather, but the changing of the seasons makes it worth it.
When I sat down to write today, I pulled the office window blind all the way up to get a better view of spring unfolding. In the last ten minutes I watched the… More
Death & Denial
No one wants to talk about death, grief, loss or incapacitation. So we don’t. The statistics are awful.
Most people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important,” yet 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes
70% of people say they prefer to die at home, but only 30% get that wish
While 80% of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life… More
It amazes me that most people dread and avoid making their wills. Making your will is an act of love. It is your last chance to tell the people you care about how important they are to you. To the people you leave behind, your will contains epic last words.
Enjoy Giving Personal Gifts
If you have stuff, making a will allows you to visualize the enjoyment your heirs will have with the legacy you leave. A financial gift might arrive just in the nick of time. Won’t your niece… More
This video from CBS Nightly News gives simple but essential advice on how conversations about end of life planning should begin.
The daughter in this news story notes that sharing final wishes “shows a lot of respect for those of us who are going to be left behind.” I give thanks every day that my parents had the courage and respect for me and my siblings to address this difficult topic while they were still alive. It made their last years more peaceful and helped… More