Monday, November 17, 2008

Speaking of Compassion: 5 Wishes???

Why the hell is it so difficult to get a "5 wishes" document that is user-friendly editable?

Whatever. I know how to "Insert 'Annex A' here and all that. There are benefits to having lawyers in the family.

Now I'm not dying, though someone in my (more extended) family is, and there's other serious stuff going on. And so I've had an opportunity to see the "death procedure" that hospitals follow.

And I give the effort a "B-," which needs there's significant changes that need to be made.

As an example of what needs to be changed, IMHO:

I wish to be cared for with kindness and cheerfulness, not sadness.

Sorry, but if I'm on my way out, it'd be a bit presumptive of me to tell my caregivers whether or not they should be sad or not.

I'd prefer kindness, of course, but if you can't be sad from time to time when somebody to whom you're close is dying I submit you have more problems than can be covered in a "5 wishes" document.

Also, "Wish 5" needs some work:

  • Buried or cremated are the only options?

    (Hey, just because there's Buddhist themes running through this blog doesn't mean I can't be an aficionado of le bad taste from time to time!)

  • "I want memories of my life to give them joy and not sorrow." See the point above. I've done stuff in my life about which I'm not entirely happy, to say the least. Like a lot of folks. I want my successors to grieve if that helps them, and to think happy thoughts if that helps them. Geez.

  • "I want my family and friends to look at my dying as a time of personal growth for everyone..."????

    Look, such things are unique once-in-a-lifetime events in which are opportunities to be a mensch and all that...But if it's me, dammit, I'm not "growing," I'd be what they call dying.

    Do the folks who made this up have a scintilla of an idea how trite and fluffy that sentence sounds???

  • No, I do not think "death is a new beginning for me." Hitting Lotto might be a new beginning for me, but I tend to agree with Mary Roach ("The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back").

  • Finally, if I have a long, horrid illness, I want my friends and family to remember me that way as well as well as when healthy. You don't stop being you with a dying, and it seems kind of disrespectful to not acknowledge that fact.

But, in a larger sense, all of this seems problematic to me. Are our lives to be reduced to polling results? Do you want a) the plug pulled, or b) the plug left in? Only one choice, please.

Naturally, like all legal document there's inevitably going to be corner conditions that make all this worthless anyway, so it's best to be sure the folks close to you know you, and therefore, it's best to have folks close to you.

That's my humble opinion; you may have another.

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