EndNotes

At the end…what will you do?

Begin writing your family's memories in the journal. You could jot down what gifts you exchanged, what cookies you made, what songs you sang, who was with you on the holiday or whatever else comes to mind. (Megan Cooley)
Begin writing your family's memories in the journal. You could jot down what gifts you exchanged, what cookies you made, what songs you sang, who was with you on the holiday or whatever else comes to mind. (Megan Cooley)

If we have advance notice of our approximate time of death (“Mr. Jones, you have stage four cancer…you have perhaps four months left”), how will we choose to spend the time?

A colleague of mine died of cancer and she worked that last year, after diagnosis, until in one day she went from her office to her hospital bed to a few days in that bed where she died.

Many of us watched as she came to work each day, sighing, “If that were me, I’d have my office cleaned out within two hours after the doc delivered the news and spend my savings on…” We each had our own plan.

But many people, like Nora Ephron, choose to continue working as long as they can. Even when I was in the middle of my own cancer treatment, I co-authored a book with Becky and Dan Kendall, a Jesuit priest. It was at that computer where I lost my sense of the looming decisions, the icky consequences of each choice and the physical pain from surgery. When I write, I leave “kronos” time and enter a different place. A nice place where inspiration comes from outside of my own consciousness.

So, perhaps, if one’s death is preceded with advance notice, one can choose to take that precious time and “work” – when work is a place of contentment, satisfaction and joy.




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.





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