Fear of the unknown, fear of grief, fear of loss. These are some of the fears that become more of an issue as we age. We fear and grieve the loss of others, the loss of friendships and lifelong relationships with that one person who knows us, both the good and the bad.
We fear the most important conversations, especially those that need to occur before the loss. The “I’m worried your health may not improve”, “time may be short” conversations. We need to hear its okay to go on, to live with grief, to cry, to express our emotions and be heard as the living.
Those whom we will be grieving want to express their fears and worries, want to tell us when we can no longer push for a medical miracle, when it’s time to allow a graceful bow out and stop facing fear with anger and hostility. We need to be able to hear the desires of the other and realize it is their right to define their fight. We need to recognize the fine line between our wants for that person and the fight they don’t have the strength or desire to continue. We need to allow their choice, how they live and how they die.
Death with dignity is not all that grand. We don’t usually go out with a roar, but a whisper. But is is our choice.