I’m doing things differently in this blog and starting with a photo.

This shadowy path was captured earlier this month and shows the blackthorn blossom in full bloom and the celandines brilliant in the sunshine. In the middle of the picture in the distance there’s a seat, that’s really important now I’m old. I really look forward to reaching somewhere I can rest near the end of the walk. While the earth is bursting into life Covid19 controversies are flourishing in the media, one of the latest is on end of life care. 

Naturally everyone would like good care at the end of life but what is good? Is it good to resuscitate people near the end of their lives? When would it be good to put away the crash trolley and simply provide good palliative care and support? There’s useful information on end of life care at  but in the end what anyone feels about these difficult questions will depend on their circumstances, experiences and beliefs.

It’s easier to provide good end of life care if everyone knows what the dying person feels, and a personalised advance decision, often known as a living will, can make this clear. There are many options to choose from at

I’ve also written a living will poem to try and express feelings that can’t be conveyed in the legalistic prose of an advance decision. 

Before my heart began to beat
in the secret darkness
of my mother’s womb,
death began to shadow me
like a hawk with hungry eyes 
hovering above a hill.
So if I see him dive for me
then Doctor help me dodge him 
and I’ll trust you with my life.
I’ll follow your instructions,
and promptly bare my body 
for the scalpel’s expert touch
or the cunning killing rays 
that penetrate my flesh,
I’ll swallow any medicine
that helps me cling to life.
But if I’m mired in fatal weakness
and my sadly tangled neurones
get me snarled in thorny thickets 
of amnesia and confusion,
can I trust you with my death?
Can you bravely put aside
all your hi-tech wizardry,
give me tender remedies,
soothe me with some poppy juice, 
give me comfort and relief,
help me welcome death’s embrace,
for he’ll kill my final grief,
and though he’ll scatter all my atoms
each will be absorbed again
into the secret darkness
of earth’s abundant womb

Anne Bryan

PS I couldn’t resist adding the daisies.