lohidoc wrote:I like Bownbagger's story about the woodsman going off to die in his own environment. There is so much dignity in that, and I know of other stories like that. ... There would surely be comfort for them knowing that their parent died in a manner of their own choosing.
This statement (underlined) illustrates my point exactly. WE might feel some comfort knowing that it was possible for this person to die in a method of his own choosing, WE might see the beauty in dying quickly or what we imagine to be painlessly in a sudden accident situation. But WE are closer to our own deaths, and WE'VE had a lot of time to think things through (if we chose to do so.)We are fools if we assume that our responses to those kinds of death scenarios are how our families will responsd
. We are in one position (the dying) while they are in another (the grieving). Even if we pose the scenario and ask, they cannot answer w/the perspective we feel because they aren't looking at the issue from the same place we are. To assume that what comforts us will also comfort our loved ones is just ... well, you know what you get when you assume.
Sure - we share some common things. Maybe some of our loved ones ARE on board with what we think we will find comforting at the end. But to assume that going in? Nuh-unh, no go. When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. When it comes to death and dying, that can be a snafu on a very grand scale indeed.
Non-death example: I've mentioned that I'm in the process of cleaning out my house. Why? Well, I've participated in two gramma and one great-gramma post-morten clean-out, and they can be hilariously brutal. Gramma F. left in her tiny apartment a hoarder's quantity of stuff...including about 100 oval boxes of Intimate dusting powder. We were tossing them all until one broke...and we found $100 in small bills rolled up inside. OMG, what a PITA going back through each of those boxes, and every other box after the discovery, to ferret out her squirreled-away cash.
I have hundreds of dollars in work clothes that I want to donate to a charity that maintains a job-interview or dress-for-success closet for women in need, on assistance, or who've been abused. And I'm gonna do that. I have hundreds of dollars of dog training equipment only attractive to one segment of my friends. I have over 400 cookbooks, as well as CDs, DVDs and even tapes. I have some very specialized cooking equipment.
And I have a lot of friends who want to see me, but I'm not strong enough for a parade of visitors.
My thought (which initially met with some resistance, but is now gaining popularity) - have a PARTY! It's gonna be around happy hour, so that people who work can get here, people who don't work can get here, and people who teach can fit it in between classes. It's gonna be during the week (we think...date TBD) so we don't conflict with dog shows. And the rule is - bring something to share (food/drink) that you MUST take home with you, and you MUST take something of mine with you when you leave. It can be one thing - or 50. But the point is to clear my house of the things that appeal to special interests so my family has less to clear out. The stuff planned for my family will be set aside - the rest of the house is fair game. Whatever is left will be donated (if possible) or just cleared out by an estate sale/recycling company. Sure there will be some stuff to clean out when I die, but MOST of it will be gone (and there won't be any dusting powder bins full of cash.
This comforts me - and my friends, even those initially reluctant, like the idea. They get to see me, they get to choose a piece or pieces of me for remembrance, I know my stuff is going to good homes where it will be used. This is a rare example of a situation that is comforting to both the dying and the soon to be aggrieved. But as with every solution, not everyone likes the idea. However, I'm happy that enough people are liking it that it's a good choice.
However, for the most part, we don't get to choose what will comfort our loved ones, folks.
And assuming what comforts us will also give our loved ones comfort is too often just not a good plan - especially when in making our plans, we try to "minmize" their pain and suffering according to our perceptions, and not theirs.