Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dying with dignity

Wifey's mum sadly died last weekend after what was a surprisingly short battle with cancer. We are still coming to terms with the loss of a wife, mother and grandmother who had only just turned a relatively young sixty. 

I had the privilege of being there for her final moments. I hadn't expected to be, but we had been called to the hospice early in the morning when her health started to deteriorate rapidly. It was a profound moment that was horrifically sad, only made better by the fact that it was a truly dignified way to conclude her life - in a comfortable, elegant room surrounded by loved ones and caring staff. 

What struck me was that, in our society, death is very much sanitized and kept behind closed doors. We see death a thousand times in films, TV or the newspaper, but it doesn't compare to the real thing. Watching someone die before your very eyes is by no means a pleasant experience, but the power of such an event truly opens your eyes to your own mortality and, more importantly, how precious and fragile life really is.

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