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The Inevitable Reality Of Death

Author : Maricruz Ferrari LCSW

Many cultures believe that through death they achieve the culmination of their spiritual goals, arrive at the summit and reunify with the creator. Other people believe that their higher experience as a spiritual being will happen postmortem. Yet, talking about death and end of life wishes continues to be taboo for most people.

I guess it’s like that song says, everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now. Honestly, I understand, the certainty of life against the uncertainty of the afterlife can cause anxiety. However, that doesn’t change the fact that death is an inevitable reality. Everyone will go through it, want it or not. It’ll come in different presentations and at different times for everyone, but one thing is certain, it’ll come.

Most people live life avoiding discussing about the end of life as if not talking about it will make it go away. The truth is that every day we are alive and breathing is an opportunity for death to knock on our door. Social media outlets often remind us of our vulnerability as human beings when we read or listen to the daily tragedies in the world that claim many lives. Nevertheless, we act as if that’s someone else’s fate, but not ours.

What if, for a minute, we align with our mortality and embrace the fact that life is fragile and the end of life will eventually come? What if we decided to talk about it the same way we talk about personal goals, family planning, financial issues, parenting successes and struggles, love, disappointment or professional growth? Food for thought: embracing an inevitable reality (just like growing older) may help us make that stage of life sweeter rather than provoking anxiety.

It is no news that as human beings grow older most of them want to achieve emotional, spiritual, physical and financial independence. Since childhood we are always dreaming of being able to achieve possible and impossible things on our own. We often want to shed the shackles that we feel our parents, friends, family, society or life in general puts on us. We always want to have the last word about what happens with us. Or at least we wish we had. How about death?

Wouldn’t you want to have the freedom to choose how to exit this life? Don’t you feel that after so much effort invested into the business of life, you should have a say on how the final transaction goes? Of course, this applies to those who have the opportunity to have a say; some don’t get to choose. So if you do, how about learning about end of life choices and not wasting your chance to decide for yourself?

Working in healthcare I’ve learned that many people, at some point, have thought about what they would prefer if life started to elude them. Often people decide not to share those thoughts because they feel it would be a hard topic to discuss with their loved ones. Some people have plainly stated that based on their belief system or cultural background talking about death and dying is offensive. Others have told me that by asking their loved one what their end of life wishes are, they are making them question their love for them. Others have said they are afraid their loved one will assume they are ok with his/her death.

Truly, I would think it is the opposite, when you love someone you want to honor their wishes and help them transition peacefully and lovingly to the next stage. The same way for the dying and non-dying, I believe one of the biggest acts of love is opening up to others and sharing your wishes. When you do so, you take the burden away from others and allow your loved one to experience your departure in peace and harmony.

Regardless of your beliefs, we all share one thing in common. We are all human beings and one day, hopefully, far, far away, when all your dreams have come true and you’re over a hundred, life will start to fade, rapidly or slowly. When that time comes, make sure your wishes have been heard and you get to decide how the symphony of your life ends. Hopefully it will be full of musical notes full of peace, love and applause!

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Maricruz Ferrari is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in healthcare for multiple years. During the most recent stage in her career, she has provided supportive services to people on the end of life journey. Along the way she has learned there is a significant unawareness in the community about end of life choices. People often go through intensely difficult medical experiences due to lack of knowledge. Maricruz wants to create more awareness over end of life issues and choices with the purpose of helping people be more prepared for the last chapter in their physical lives.

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Tags:   end of life, death, social work, hospice, Clinical Social Worker, healthcare, life choices, medical choice, end of life care, end of life care options, end of life care hospice, end of life planning, end of life planning, end of life decisions, living will

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Submitted : 2019-01-18    Word Count : 723    Times Viewed: 285