Why should we talk about death and dying?
As a chaplain resident at Lutheran General Hospital, I have had the honor and privilege of being present with people and their loved ones at the end of life many times. Sometimes these deaths have been sudden and tragic, and sometimes they have occurred with some notice, over a period of time. Being with people at this time feels like a sacred and holy time to accompany them through an event that will happen to all of us, a time when people often turn to their spiritual beliefs and faith and may be trying to make meaning out of their life and experiences.
One of the gifts patients sometimes provide to their loved ones is an expression of their end of life wishes. Have you had this conversation? If your loved ones know what is important to you and how you may envision the end of your life, it can help them make the best decisions possible during the most difficult times. It can be a difficult conversation to have; however, consider the following:
- 92% say that it’s important to talk to their loved ones about end of life care.
- Only 32% have had the conversation.
- 21% say they have not had the conversation because they don’t want to upset their loved ones.
- 53% say they would be relieved if a loved one started the conversation.
- 95% say they are willing or want to talk about their end of life wishes.
And, what does our faith say?
Our faith calls us to love our neighbor and care for others throughout life. According to the ELCA message on “End of Life Decisions” from 1992, our faith as Christians informs and guides us in approaching decisions about death and dying. A few of the convictions that orient us are:
✦ life is a gift from God, to be received with thanksgiving; ✦ the integrity of the life processes which God has created should be respected; both birth and death are part of these life processes; ✦ both living and dying should occur within a caring community; ✦ a Christian perspective mandates respect for each person; such respect includes giving due recognition to each person’s carefully considered preferences regarding treatment decisions; and ✦ hope and meaning in life are possible even in times of suffering and adversity, a truth powerfully proclaimed in the resurrection faith of the church.
So, please join me to learn more about talking about death and dying!
Consider attending one of the following events:
Saturday, March 21, 10:00 to 12:00: Let’s Talk about Death and Dying I: How to Have “The Conversation”
Saturday, April 4, 10:00 to 12:00: Let’s Talk about Death and Dying II: Planning Ahead with Five Wishes
Please attend as you are able; you are encouraged to attend both but it is not necessary to attend both sessions. Light refreshments will be served and childcare will be available. Please sign up and indicate if childcare is needed by March 1. For more information, please contact me, Lora Salley. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-330-6839.