How We Die continues to dissipate, having garnered nearly 300 more followers to the blog, and a continuing flood of commentary.
At this writing, 11:32 A.M., nearly 800 comments altogether, including those to the post on Ensure. Here’s one from yesterday:
I wish all families who are tending to ailing and dying loved ones could read this. I worked as a respiratory therapist for over 30 years. Most of my time was spent in ICU, CCU or MICU. So I was exposed to end of life decisions almost daily. As much as I love my family, knowing the consequences of these life sustaining procedures, I will be my families loudest voice when these decisions need to be made. I will fight with everything I have to ensure my loved ones leave this world in peace and with grace and dignity.
There is nothing as heart-wrenching as looking into the beautiful, tear filled eyes of a wonderful person and seeing such pain and fear in their last days. Those eyes that begged me to turn off the machine that keeps them bound, painfully, to this world used to haunt me in my dreams. Some still do. They suffer at the hands of ‘loved ones’ who can’t let go. What most do not know is that their inability to let go consigns their beloved parent, sibling, child to endless torture in their last days.
I left the mefical field when, as I was consoling the family of a 32 year old woman who was dying of lupus, I was called to resuscitate, intubate and place on a ventilator a gentleman 95 years old. There was a DNR on this man, (his wishes) but because a family member could not let go, CPR was initiated and this kindly man spent his last days hooked up to machines. Every time I went into his room his blue eyes begged me to let him go. He would hold my hand and squeeze so hard it made his thin arm tremble. Those blue eyes cried out for release but all I could do was wipe away his tears and tell him how sorry I was.
Make your end of life wishes known before you are too ill to make your wishes known. And PLEASE! let your loved ones go gently when their time comes.
Meanwhile, life goes on. I spent much of yesterday afternoon driving to Paoli to meet with a beautiful young couple who are committing their energy and fortune into concretizing plans for their life’s work: the healing of our culture, via conscious dying, grieving, and remembrance of those who have gone before. More on that as their plans evolve, but our discussion was, of course, illuminating.
Then, as soon as I arrived home, I had been asked to turn around and attend the opening of the latest board meeting for our still struggling Bloomingfoods Co-op. I was to speak out on my feeling that we need to reinstate the Garden Center at the East Side location of the Co-op. So I did that, and handed in a copy of what I said to the Board:
BRING BACK THE GARDEN CENTER?
Why? Because none of the new or old corporate grocery stores have such a local connection. They may sell “local” and “natural” food to some extent, but they do not have, and cannot have, a deep, many layered knowledge of the entire panoply of people and organizations who are interested in local food.
Goal: to become the interactive local hub for natural, local, organic, permacultural food practices and products.
Network with and draw on locals and local food groups, such as the Local Growers Guild, the Center for Sustainable Living, the Permaculture Guild, CSA’s. Set up a bulletin board for them.
Staff the garden center with people who know their stuff re: gardening, including amendments, potting soils, compost, natural pest controlls, red wriggler worms, simple hand tools, heirloom seeds from companies not bought up by Mosanto. Sell Garden Towers again, with a package deal, like the Tower plus top soil and seedlings and/or seeds.
Keep lists of people, or even have employees, who design and plant gardens for people who are too old or busy to do it themselves. Including Garden Towers.
Have all plants and seedlings for sale be supplied by local producers, and include not just vegetables, and fruit and nut trees, but all sorts of perennial and/or native plants.
Then, immediately afterwards, another weekly Community Dinner (theme: Southeast Asian) at our Green Acres Ecopod —
this one at the DeKist house,
during which I discovered that one of our neighbors lost her mother through suicide when she was only nine years old. “And I lost a sister that way, too,” she added, in what appeared to be a matter-of-fact tone but which I realize must conceal deep, long-term, largely “forgotten” suffering.
How many profound, unhealed wounds fester just below awareness, both individual and collectively? Who are we as a culture that we have so lost contact with our origins in Love, our completion in Love, and our capacity to consciously, wholeheartedly grieve?
We are so very fortunate to have the leisure to even ask these questions. Imagine how people in other countries (who are being bombed, or overrun, or destabilized, or droned, or otherwise destroyed — by the corporations who have taken over government!), or imagine how homeless people in this country — who do NOT have the conviviality, nor adequate food, shelter, or support of any kind — are feeling, deep inside, on this very beautiful day.
Let us give thanks. And let us vow to do more, be more. To love all, in all ways.