Yesterday while Lauren and I were trying to get screaming little Reaves to sleep I decided to try singing to her. You know, calm the savage beast and all. I started with You are my Sunshine, followed by Amazing Grace. It worked for about three minutes but after that it was on like donkey kong again. She loves music and loves to dance especially when you shake your bootie along with her. I remember my old friend Iris telling me that she recognized the same look in little Lauren's eyes that her son had. And Reaves has that same look. A mix between pure angelic joy and trouble waiting to happen.
I found it ironic to be sitting in a nursing home re-reading Ira Byock's book Dying Well. This man was hospice before it was cool as in Missoula Demonstration Project. He expertly shares cases of all the different issues involved in death with an emphasis on family support. It's not just the dying patient who is suffering except in rare cases. He focuses on dignity and honor. Various ways to intertwine the philosophy through conversations where he gives people options are way cool. The one guy I read about today was unable to eat without choking due to ALS. Eating was an ordeal for him because he couldn't swallow without choking and that was his biggest fear. Dr Byock asked him why he kept eating if it was an unpleasant experience which led to not eating as an option or tube feeding to prolong life. And then taking away fluids.
All of these are discussions that occur simultaneously when someone knows they are dying. To me, the most important thing is to mend relationships and share the love before it's too late. Assisted suicide aka euthanasia is available in certain states that allow it and I respect that. But still? I think most of the regrets and joys should be tended to.
Yes I am eat up with the hospice philosophy because I've been a healthcare provider for 40 plus years and people need help navigating the system. My friend Risible Girl volunteered with a hospice group in her area and loved it. People need the active support approaching the end but after as well. That is what expressing grief and releasing anger does to free a wounded soul.
Peace out ~