What’s your hyphen?
Here at Before I’m 6 Feet Under (or BI6FU, as we call it, tongue planted firmly in cheek), questioning the hyphen is our jam. So much so that we consider it one of life’s most important tasks. After all, what’s more important than figuring out your purpose?
And, IOHO, no hyphen conversation worth having can be had without inviting death to the party. Who else can help you put everything into perspective so quickly? Who else can help you get to the heart of the matter so directly? Who else can serve to remind you that there’s only so much time to make your hyphen as glorious as you can?
Starting the conversation.
Focus on the practical. Take advantage of deaths in the news or of others known to you to say that they’ve got you thinking about your own end-of-life choices. You might comment on the service, expressing your likes and dislikes and asking what your loved ones think. For example, some folks have strong feelings about whether masses of flowers at a service are a beautiful testament or a waste of money better given to a charitable or medical cause. The idea is to get the conversation going around the choices made by others as a way to gain clarity about what your own choices might be. So, even if you’re not clear about what you want yet, engaging in conversations about what others have chosen is a good way to begin the process.
What do you see?
Imagining your final days gives you the opportunity to consider your version of a “good death.” Do you see yourself dying at home, surrounded by your loved ones? Most folks do, yet 80% of people die in a hospital or nursing home, hooked up to machines and in the presence of strangers. If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, do you want to be kept alive at all costs, despite the pain and suffering, or do you want to forego invasive treatments and procedures and just be kept comfortable for the time you have left? Eighty-eight percent of physicians, while trained to provide the former for their patients, actually choose the latter, comfort care, for themselves. Interesting, right?