Before I began my training to become an End of Life Doula, I received a reading list as a prelude to our classwork. One of the books on this list was DIE WISE, by Stephen Jenkinson. It was a heavy, heady read, but worth the 393 pages, if for nothing else, for explaining that our “more time” is now. Not for one moment do I intend to negate the amazing power and abilities of our current medical system, nor to criticize anyone suffering from an illness who in their right and capable mind want their doctors to “do everything” in terms of prolonging life. These are personal choices. What Jenkinson describes in his many years in hospitals and at bedside, is that the unintended outcome of the “do everything” approach may buy “more time”, but at what cost physically, emotionally and financially? Often, the “more time” provides patients more time for crushing anxiety and prolonged suffering. This discussion opened a huge can of worms in my mind. What would I choose knowing I had a terminal illness? That, I’m not completely certain of, but being called to work in End of Life has taught me without a doubt is to make as much of the time I have now as I possibly can.
For me right now that means enjoying my parents and their stories, watching as many of my (almost graduating!) son’s soccer games, peeling back the layers in understanding my relationships and working through the fears that hold me back and close my heart.
If everyday is a gift, how are you spending your “more time”?