Submitted by members of CRIS
Community Resources for Independent Seniors
Most of us, when asked what we hope for when we are facing death, reply that we want to die at home, surrounded by loved ones, free of pain and fear. Yet fewer than 10 percent of Americans die that way. Of course, there is always the possibility that we will die unexpectedly, a result of an accident or an overwhelming medical emergency. But those situations are relatively rare.
Most of us, toward the end of our lives, develop a fatal illness (other than life itself) such as cancer or heart disease; then begins the grim trek through the corridors of diagnostic procedures and life-prolonging treatments. During the last year of life that process intensifies, robbing us of our dignity and any sense of well-being we had hoped to preserve. Finally, we die, in a hospital or a nursing facility, often alone.
Does it have to be that way? Of course not. Is there anything you can do about it? Absolutely.
Those of you who have attended the CRIS sponsored series on “Death and Dying” over the past four months have learned just what we can do to guide our lives toward the desired end. Dr. Potash showed us how to get the necessary dialog started, how to talk with our families, friends and physicians to achieve our goals. Dr. Bepko explained the pros and cons of medical aid-in-dying, an option we may wish to consider. And Dr. Berg explained how the art and science of gerontology can enhance the quality of our lives, regardless of the disease we are facing.
Our final forum of the series will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, in the Cazenovia Public Library community room. It is entitled, “Celebration of a Life: Rituals and Stories.” The presenters are well-known Cazenovia community members, Sister Mary Ellen Curtin and Sister Melice Bohrer. They will discuss religious and non-religious traditions to honor our deceased loved ones, sharing their own experiences and stories as examples of shared grief and celebration.
Sister Mary Ellen has been a spiritual guide and retreat director for over 25 years. Sister Melice, a former pastoral associate at St. James Parish, has accompanied many parishioners in their sickness and dying.
In response to the interest expressed by participants in the series, CRIS will offer an ongoing discussion group related to the issues we all face as we near the end of our lives. All members of the greater Cazenovia community are welcome.
For further information, contact CRIS at 315-655-5743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.