Wednesday, 3 June 2015

[Today] In approach to dying, focus more on what happens

The writer has come close in his letter “Prepare for end-of-life issues early” (June 2), but missed a subtle point.
For sure, religion and philosophy make death a known unknown through routine exposure to the topic and, hence, provide a constant reminder of the end.
The problem is the approach from a metaphysical perspective of “what next” in order to subdue physical degradation, rather than facing the reality and understanding “what happens” as a result of a long, continuous biological process.
With increased education of the population — and by that I mean improved reasoning — over time, we can expect better awareness of a biological ending of a living organism or even the end of a machine’s “life” through wear and tear.
This does not bring additional complications and conflicts, which the writer’s earlier suggested approach may invite.
My grandfather fell sick in his mid-70s. “What happened?” asked the doctor who had known him for many years. He managed to answer with a smile: “The process has begun.”
He was a farmer throughout his life and not a religious man, but it did not stop him from accepting what was coming. For him, end-of-life was not an issue, but a part of life.