death & dying
Parents can teach us a lot of lessons. But often families don't talk enough about the difficult stuff in life. And there is one topic I wish my father had talked to me about before he died.
Slowly, painfully slowly, the good days were fewer and fewer, and our visits mainly consisted of us trying to make conversation with someone who barely knew we were there. My grandma would dutifully feed him biscuits when we visited. A woman in the corner of the day room, with white hair that stood on end, screamed periodically like a crowing rooster. The nurses seemed kind.
Dying Matters to me because I have a life-limiting condition. However, the truth is Dying Matters for everyone. We're all going to die, I just have more knowledge of how and when I will die than the rest of the population. That said, even I don't know when I will die. I was given a five year prediction in 2012, which I have reached and am determined to exceed; but my time is limited, every day is a blessing and I will never make 'old bones'.
My primary purpose here is, as a patient, to join calls, like those made by the 75 leading health experts to Theresa May on 11th January, for radical solutions to the break-down of our health and care system. It is not a problem for us that can wait for some utopian answer in 2020. Let's accept that we'll die - but avoid the unacceptable shortcut of the sirens' road towards euthanasia, the cheap solution.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live apart, spending their time between each other's flat, constantly packing and unpacking a bag. Eventually, they become tired of moving between flats and decide that it is time to move in together and perhaps even buy a flat...
Philip De Ste Croix, head of future planning at Damsons shares practical and emotional advice for parents and families, who
My intuition tells me, I am not yet ready to listen to David Bowie's Black Star album. Something else has to be done first.
This morning, I sat at my computer and cried. I had just read the passing of someone called Joyce Tan Siew Ling who lived in Malaysia. Now, I am not the type to mourn the passing of lives from this world to the next. After all, we are all here on borrowed time, and Death was the only thing that was ever promised to us at birth. It comes to us all sooner or later.
Many people will struggle to get the care that they need as they approach the end of their life. According to Marie Curie, between now and 2020, approximately 250,000 people will die in London. We need to ensure that everyone who needs end of life care can expect to receive a high level of care that is personalised, coordinated, and sensitive to the needs of those around the patient as they enter their final months, weeks and days.
Currently, the three people I would like to reach out to, say goodbye to and make peace with before I die, they have gone before me. They are dead. No more explanations. But I am taking their memories with me into every new day. I am trying to avoid repeats by speaking the truth and asking for the truth, even if I do not get an answer, even if the answer hurts.