Saturday, July 9, 2011

Discussion Group: Death and Dying

It's a taboo subject. We don't like to talk about it or think about it. Yes, it happens to everyone but until we're touched by it or facing it ourselves. we avoid it. So you may be surprised to hear that I belong to a group that discusses death on a monthly basis.

We are a subgroup of the Houston chapter of The Transition Network, an organization for women dealing with transition and focusing on what's next. You wouldn't think a special interest group on dying would have many takers, but as soon as our group filled up, a second one was formed and was eventually merged with the first.

Why do we choose to spend an evening each month talking about dying? Some of us have been touched by death; we've lost parents, friends, spouses. Some see death looming in the ever-decreasing distance and want to be ready to face the end and make it easier for our families to deal with.

We sometimes have speakers. We've had a hospital chaplain, an estate attorney, a physician. Sometimes we choose a topic to discuss. We've talked about our "pictures" of death, about creating ethical wills, about how and where we want to die. I think my own fears of death have lessened as we talk about the unknowable. I've come to appreciate the finite time I have left and to resolve to spend it wisely.

When I've mentioned this group to my internist and when we contacted the chaplain, their responses were, "What a wonderful idea for a discussion group. There should be more of them."

Oh yes, you may be wondering about the picture of sweets above. Answer: we meet in the evenings, so the name of our group has changed from Death and Dying to Death, Dying and Dessert.


Renee said... [Reply to comment]

Excellant idea for a group. Having stood at the beside of countless dying patients,it is heartbreaking to see those who struggle, in those final hours. We should die as we live, with dignity.

jyourist said... [Reply to comment]

What a healthy, constructive, and tasty way to face the inevitable.

Annie Boreson said... [Reply to comment]

Like jyourist said, this is a healthy group and I think it is a wonderful way for people to make the adjustment for themselves and their family. It will happen to all of us...there is no way out, so the more we prepare for our own end as well as find support for the losses of our loved ones, the better we will feel about about the whole life experience. That does not mean that we are morbid or not enjoying life to its fullest because we are so preoccupied with death. On the contrary, I think it sounds like you are taking responsibility for your happiness and enjoying each moment. It really sounds like a wonderful group!

Carol Apple said... [Reply to comment]

I don't think that's strange at all. It's healthy to face reality in a positive way among caring friends. It's the most difficult thing there is and yet, as you point out, the most universal. Sounds like your group has some excellent speakers too.

Lynn B said... [Reply to comment]

The desserts (and sometimes dinners) are wonderful and the conversation is always illuminating. We are benefit from the gatherings. Lynn


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