Am interested to know what others might consider the definition of a good death.
I'd say that the key to a good death is to be mentally at peace - not worried, and knowing that everything will carry on OK for people after you've gone, whether that's emotionally, financially or in any other way. I may just say that because I'm a born worrier though!
I recently conducted a funeral service for a man who died of cancer in the local hospice in Northampton. He died with his family at his bedside chatting, laughing and joking with him - holding his hand and just being there for him - frankly under the circumstances that is a good death - he just slipped away with those he loved beside him.
As I said at his funeral - "We all have to face death but we dont all have a good death and he had a good death".
In my view, a good death is one where the transition from life to death is seamless, painless and free from stress.
SilverDove, that man's death sounds like the ideal we all would wish for. I don't think I have heard of one better.
It was said earlier that a good death is one where the person passes with their closed loved ones around them. Another post said that if one was free from worries that too constituted a good death.
I suggest people look at the death plan template in My Last Song (.com) as it enables the 'patient', their loved ones, their doctor and if appropriate a minister of religion to discuss all the issues in advance. It also includes advice on 'putting your affairs in order' so there are no worries.
Use of such a death plan will give you the ending you want, hopefully as comforting and as comfortable as possible.
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My husband died with me and my Grandson beside him, with his favourite Welsh Male Voice choir music being played, and just as I threatened to join in, he quietly left us! Typical of him but the humour of the situation really has helped us.
Personally, I think that a good death would be one when you have already reached the end of your line. I mean, the time when you have completely served your purpose and you have nothing left to do but come to face with death itself.
Though that is hard to accomplish actually as there is no real measure as to how you can say you are already done with your life. So coming up with a good list of stuff you want done is a good place to start.
I think it will differ from person to person as everyone likes different things in life, but I would strongly suspect that everyone would like to be:
- free from physical pain when they die
- free from emotional pain (at peace with oneself and others)
Everything else, even being surrounded by loved ones, comes down to personal preference. Some people, after all, might want to die alone by jumping out of an aeroplane with no parachute!
In my opinion it's pain-free, surrounded by your loved ones, stress-free with humour & quick!
But more important to me is : How to achieve this? How can you plan your death? May I ask for comment.
Also, why is "talking about death" still a taboo in polite society? We now openly discuss: racism, sexual orientation, religion.....but mental health & dying [seem to me] are still not openly discussed - why?
Again, comment would be appreciated - from anyone!
I came into this world alone, and I plan to leave it the same way.
Permit me a little dignity, when the time comes.
...but how will your death be organised so you can rely on the fact you'll get dignity?
By not being pitied.
..but what if you're in a pitiful state?
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Personally, having watched my wife die for two years from cancer, a good death is a quick death.
yes,having time to get your affairs in order is a good thing, but if you're well & alive one minute and dead the next, quite frankly you won't care. It may make it harder for the people left behind to untangle your earthly affairs but you yourself are beyond all worry.
So for me, when it happens, I'm hoping I will just go, no warning, no waiting, no slowly watching my body decay.
It's also what my wife would have wanted, but sadly it didn't work out that way. We had a wonderful palliative care nurse, I was able to cut back on work to be a full time carer at home for her and we had great support from the community nurses, so everything that could have been done for her was done. But the last six months of her life I don't wish on anyone.
A good death should be as comfortable and comforting as possible. This mean different choices for different people. The problem is that people's wishes on how they want to die either never get discussed or are lost.
That's why in My Last Song there's a death plan template to encourage death and dying to be discussed, and all the issues - emotional, practical, medical, spiritual - addressed. Once filled in, the death plan can be given to close loved ones and the GP so that the death is comfortable and comforting.http://www.mylastsong.com/advice/461/109/care/a-death-plan-for-the-end-o...
I am just in the process of writing an essay and for a good death to be achieved we need to consider the whole person and to do that we surly need to consider culture. working in nursing I find it difficult to suggest hospice care is probably Christian based so how do we cater and therefore provide good deaths for other cultures? xx
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