Let’s make one thing crystal clear from the start. There‘s no one way of dying well. However, there are some things we might want to consider if that is our goal.*
- First, death isn’t only a universal biological fact of life, part of the great round of nature; it’s also a necessary part of what it means to be human. Everything that we value about life and living — its novelties, challenges, opportunities for development — would be impossible without death as the defining boundary of our lives.
- While it may be easy to accept death in the abstract, it’s often more difficult to accept the specifics of our own death. Why must I die like this, with this disfigurement, this pain? Why must I die so young? Why must I die before completing my life’s work or before providing adequately for the ones I love? These are some of the most difficult questions dying people ask themselves. This workbook will provide you with the opportunity to find your own answers to these pressing questions.
- Living a good death begins the moment we accept our mortality as part of who we are. We’ve had to integrate other aspects of who we are into our daily lives – our gender, racial background, and cultural heritage, to name a few. Why not our mortality? This workbook will provide you the support you need to begin the process of acquainting yourself with death and growing empowered in your new identity as a mortal. Putting death in its proper perspective will help you regain control of your life and achieve a greater sense of balance and purpose.
- Dying can be a time of extraordinary alertness, concentration, and emotional intensity. It’s possible to use the natural intensity and emotion of this final season of life to make it the culminating stage of your personal growth.
- In the process, you will pioneer new standards of a good death that the rest of us can emulate. You’re in a unique position to help the rest of society desensitize death and dying. Most importantly, you’ll be able to support those you love as they prepare for your death. In fact, you’ll be able to join them as they begin their grieving process.
- You’ll regain lost dignity by actively involving yourself in the practical preparations for your own death. Some of the things we’ll be considering include negotiating pain management, choosing the appropriate care for the final stages of dying, putting your affairs in order, preparing rituals of transition, as well as learning how to say good-by and impart blessings.
- Finally, you’ll learn to heed the promptings of your mind and body, allowing you to move from a struggle against dying to one of acceptance and acquiescence.
* From Getting Started, the introduction to The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying: Enhancing The End of Life