The very last thing most of us want to talk about is our own death! The prospect of our earthly demise tends to elicit fear and denial, even for Christians (and others) with a philosophical understanding of the afterlife . But it needn’t be like that. It may sound rather morbid, but thinking about, and planning for our own death, can give us a much greater chance of experiencing a ‘good end of life.’
Judy MacDonald Johnston, who helped two of her friends at the end of their lives, writes on her website (www.goodendoflife.com): ‘At the end, our bodily functions and independence decline. I found that with the right people and a plan, our quality of life can remain high during this time’. She goes on to say that ‘I wanted to share what I learned from my friends’ successful approach to the end of life. I have outlined five practices, with worksheets for each to help you to prepare for your end of life. This is a topic that normally inspires denial and fear. But if we put time into planning our end of life, we have the best chance of maintaining our quality of life‘.
Judy’s five practice worksheets entitled: ‘make a plan’, ‘recruit advocates’, ‘be hospital ready’, ‘choose a place’ and ‘caregivers and discuss last words’ can be downloaded from her website.
You might think to yourself that some of Judy’s tips are dependent upon having suitable resources available; for people who have little disposable income their choices are often more limited. And that’s a fair point. The sad reality is that poorer people are disadvantaged in so many respects, in life and in death. But we can all do something – for example, making your wishes known and putting together a realistic plan, costs nothing.
Something else that we can all do is to talk more about death. It’s though talking about it that we combat misunderstandings and fear. After all, it’s going to happen to each-and-every one of us whether we want to acknowledge it or not!
You can watch Judy MacDonald Johnston’s short TED talk entitled ‘Preparing for a Good End of Life‘ here: