Let’s jump to a subject no one really wants to talk about, but all of us will experience in our lifetime. No, I don’t mean sex. (I haven’t had the nerve to talk about the subject yet.) I mean, you know - pushing up daisies, six feet under, succumbed, resting in peace, passed away. Okay, I’ll say it, death – a subject most of us want to avoid. It’s just not your typical after dinner conversation when you want to get the party started.
But the topic of death, or more specifically Death with Dignity, is the focus for this month’s “Beginning Conversations about the End of Life” on Tuesday, May 24th at 6:30 at The Dalles/Wasco County Library and facilitated by Julie Reynolds and Colleen Ballinger.
I imagine most of you haven’t thought much about how to prepare for the ultimate leveler - or how you would want to die.
Would it be in the comfort and peace of your own home with loved ones surrounding you? That’s the wish of most people; and although the proportion of adults over 65 who die in their own homes is increasing, it was still only twenty-four percent in 2007.
Do you want the most accurate and clear information about the consequences of different possible treatments and the chances for recovery, so you can make the best decisions about your care?
Do you want your anxiety and fears, the emotional toll you would most likely be experiencing, to be acknowledged and not ignored?
Do want any pain to be managed and controlled so you don’t die in unnecessary distress?
And do you want to have the control and autonomy to make your own life decisions; that your Advanced Directive and treatment decisions will be followed and respected by your family and your medical providers, particularly if you aren’t able to speak for yourself?
Death with Dignity and end of life decisions are complex, nuanced, constantly changing and emotionally difficult - although we may all fantasize of a gentle exit. Death is an unavoidable part of life; a subject that may be uncomfortable, but should be discussed. And I promise talking about dying won’t kill you.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Center’s UpLifting Elevator Project. Through local grants and individual donations, the Center has raised over $156,000; and has been awarded $151,500 in foundation grants - totaling over $307,500. That is more than three-fourths of the estimated $400,000 needed to install the elevator which includes enclosing the exterior stairs. And two more opportunities are being pursued to complete the fundraising. It has been a long haul and the Center appreciates your continued support and patience as we hopefully get closer to construction.
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The popular 50’s and 60’s destination drive-in for teens who were “cruising the gut” in The Dalles was the “Handout” owned by Tom Foley and later by Phil Hammond. (Although I didn’t receive one Hefty Henry with any of the entries, the winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Maxine Parker, Pat Fowler and Bob Thouvenel.)
I fell in love with this actress after watching her in the 1936 movie Camille while I was in college. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the Swedish born film actress, who received three Academy Award nominations for Romance, Camille and Ninotchka and was famously averse to any publicity - best described by her line in the movie Grand Hotel "I want to be alone; I just want to be alone."? Email your answer to email@example.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center with a picture of John Gilbert, the popular leading man of the 20’s and 30’s.
Well, it’s been another week looking for the possibilities in every new day. Until we meet again, it is always harder to turn left than to turn right.
“How can I die? I'm booked.” George Burns