What is a “Good” Death?

good death funeral celebration of life memorialJust as each birth is unique, so too is death. Both are normal and natural and each holds an element of mystery. The time and place for both are mostly uncertain.

Death, statistically speaking, comes with a 100% guarantee. Death does not discriminate. It comes to the old and the young, black or white, female or male, with or without warning. For some, it doesn’t seem to come soon enough to alleviate pain and suffering.

We all will die, and at some point during our lives, we will also face the death of someone we know or love.

We have great awareness of these facts, yet we are often reluctant to discuss it or even plan for it. As a result, when we are faced with death, we often go down the well worn track of accepting offerings we are familiar with, whether or not we fundamentally agree with them.

Taking control of your dying and death means you get to decide what you want or what is acceptable and to some degree, how it will play out.

To be an authority about “You” during this phase of your life’s journey, knowledge will be your best friend.

Where do you begin? The first step is cultivating your willingness to be curious. For some, taking small steps at first will help alleviate any anxiety, fear and superstition that is getting in the way of embracing mortality. For others, a bold approach may be more appropriate.

Death is one of the most significant, even sacred, life events we will face.
A good death includes:

• Dignity
• Choice
• Support

Merriam-Webster defines “dignity” as “the quality or state of being worthy, honoured, or esteemed”

Choice is the power of choosing, what is right for the situation, based on what you hold as important to you and how much dignity you expect for and from yourself.

Support must appropriately address your physical, personal, psychological, social and spiritual needs. To know how best to have these needs addressed, you may need to do some soul searching to find the answers that are right for you.

Planning in advance for dying and death allows for an opportunity to explore options that make sense to you about what you want. It includes making decisions about what kind of medical interventions you are willing or not willing to accept. Extending your life and “buying time,” with medical interventions, for many, often provide little or no benefit and come with a great cost to the quality of the experience of the life for your time remaining. This point is rarely discussed when exploring options with the medical establishment.

Planning in advance also allows for your unique personality, expression and perspective to come shining through right up to the end through your Celebration of Life ritual or ceremony. It is an opportunity to inspire others with your courage, your love, and the meaning you have made from your life experiences.

A good death is one that is met with the conscious awareness that life is finite and by ensuring the effort and thought you put into your planning for the “final act” will be an expression of love for yourself and those you love.

“Dignity” definition- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dignity accessed February 7, 2017

One thought on “What is a “Good” Death?

  1. Heather Gillis

    Enjoying your blogs:) Good thoughts that put some colour back into the art of dying well. They also inspire reflection.

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