Over the course of the past month, especially after writing my piece titled, “In Thinking About my Death, I Discovered How I Truly Wish to Live,” I’ve heard through the grapevine that several friends are concerned I’m dying right now. To clear the air…I’m not. 😉
I can understand where this worry comes from. I am dealing with a serious medical condition, and going through a lot of treatment uncertainty. I also tend to write and talk a lot about death. I do this because I believe discussing death should be a normative experience. From the moment we are born, we are all dying. Talking about death allows us to gain clarity of this inevitable truth. Discussing “the end” with ourselves, and our loved ones, allows us to collectively understand how we wish to end well. More importantly, through these discussions, we learn what we truly value in life.
Too often these conversations go unsaid, and when the moment comes, the end becomes confusing, dizzying, and regrettable. Hospitals provide care counter to the patient’s wishes because there were never any prior conversations.
It’s time we talk about death.
To do just that, I’m honored to be an ePatient Ambassador for this year’s End Well Symposium on December 6th in San Francisco. The aim of this gathering is to transform the end-of-life into a human-centered experience. I’m proud to be among fellow ePatient/eCaregiver Ambassadors as we embark on this journey.
To learn more about the End Well Symposium, the founder, Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, was recently interviewed for a wonderful PBS Newshour piece on the need for quality end-of-life care.