Serious content alert. Yesterday was a long day as I flew to Louisiana after getting word a few days ago of my stepmother’s passing. The event was not unexpected, although there was thought it could be a bit in the future. The point to this post is something I’ve written about before. Once an individual goes into genuine decline, you don’t know what the timing will be. Without being alarmist, that’s when we should figure out how to make a visit or strengthen contact as a “just in case”. One of the aspects of hospice is to provide that framework since entering into hospice essentially makes the announcement of, “I don’t know when, but I am accepting the approaching stage.” Although I say, “our culture tends to make discussing approaching death an uncomfortable subject”, I’m not certain other cultures do a better job of it.
The concept of “Celebration of Life” does make sense and most people embrace that now, for that is what we hope family and friends can remember of an individual who is departed. I don’t know which culture is responsible for the old questions of, “Did you find joy in life and did you give joy?” as a measure, but it is a good one to keep in mind.