I’ve watched this feeling grow in some older adults who I have known well: They finally get tired of the work of staying alive, and just give up. What I have also seen: the difficulty of bringing up this matter with those around them.
How do any of us tell those who love us that we’re ready to die? What words do we use? What will our loved ones be ready to hear? How do we broach the subject without it causing waves of denial, or judgements about our spirit?
This is a difficult matter, because for a long time our loved ones may have been capable and willing partners in our struggle for well-being. They may not seem to be ready for our death, so the whole subject can remain off-limits. The medical model of elder-care is strongly tilted towards maintaining life quality, not preparing for death. And so some of us could want to give up on the hard work of living, but don’t know how to transition our conversations and attitudes in that direction.
• It’s hard for any of us to admit that we want to let go of life.
• Hospice folks know how to help this attitude switch take place.
• If we’re care givers, we can let our loved ones know that it’s okay to stop trying.
• This subject could be part of any discussions about our final days.
• Spiritual truths can make these conversations a blessing for both the elderly person and the caregivers.
I hope that the people who surround me during my last days will be willing to have this conversation with me, and to honor this truth: My death will not be the end, so giving up will be more like getting ready for what’s next!
So be it….
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