Taking Responsibility for Death

This week’s story was published in today’s Sunday New York Times. I haven’t decided if I will just pick out weekend articles or if I will also write during the week. I suppose it will depend on whether or not there is a story that begs discussion that I stumble across during the week. It will also depend on whether I have the energy at the end of a day to think much about it. But the more comments we recieve, the more I will feel inspired to write. That is really meant to be the heart of this blog – it is meant to be a space where people can safely discuss important issues that challenge every one of us on a daily basis. So, please dive in and share your thoughts!

I have also been thinking about what I meant when I wrote that I don’t want this blog to be political. Any one who knows me knows that I wear my politics on my sleeve and that I am very passionate about current political issues. But politics have become so polarized and I do not want to buy into this polarization. All of us, regardless of political persuasion, deal with significant issues every day in which we can find common interest and comfort from people from all walks of life.

This week’s story is entitled “Taking Responsibility for Death” and can be found here: http://nyti.ms/H2tZ26 I find it interesting that this is one of the most e-mailed stories of the day today at the New York Times. This is an article that discusses the difficult reality that all of us eventually face when confronted with the fact that every one of us will face the death of loved ones, and ultimately of ourselves. It discusses some practical steps that all of us should take to prepare for this inevitability.

I wonder if this is the most e-mailed article because sending someone something that a respected newspaper has published about this topic is an easier way to open the discussion than to bring it up more personally. With the commonality of this issue, why are we all so uncomfortable to talk about end of life issues? And how – when every person, regardless of political affiliation, will deal with this reality – has this issue become so politicized?

I have some close friends who lost family members at a very young age and they have shared with me that people simply do not know what to say to try and console them. They have shared that people do not have to try to think of the perfect thing to say – that it helps for a person to simply acknowledge what they are going through. But so often, people are afraid to say anything at all. What is it that makes people so uncomfortable, even when trying to support a friend who has lost a loved one or who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, to look the realities of death in the face and to stand together to face the issue head-on? And does this discomfort change as people get older – does it lessen or does it get worse?

And how many of my (many ;-)) readers have thought about developing a living will? Or talked with their parents about their end of life issues? In fact, how many of you have a legal will at all? Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we could move beyond the taboos associated with talking about death and dying and support each other more as we struggle through these difficult issues?

This week, I challenge each of us to do one thing to make sure that we have our legal and personal affairs in order to make things easier on the people who depend on us when it is our time to go. And to remember that life is short, so we need to appreciate every precious moment we get to share with the people we love.

Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts!

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Filed under End of Life, Health, Parenting, Relationships

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