Saturday, July 9, 2011
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.