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 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/ 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 https://compassionindying.org.uk/choose-a-way-to-make-an-advance-decision-living-will/
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.
LIVING WILL 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.