What if you and your loved ones talked about and prepared for the end of life and death, similar to the ways we prepare for birth?

by | Oct 1, 2023 | Serious Illness

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My name is Carola Stepper. I am a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse, and End of Life Doula. The Purpose of my company, Gorge End of Life Services is:

To inspire and guide individuals and families to talk about and prepare for the end of life and death, similarly to the ways we prepare for birth.

Understandably, birth is so much easier to talk about and yes, cuter.

However, not all of us will be personally involved in a birth during our lifetime.

All of us, including our loved ones will experience death. I understand and respect that this is a very difficult topic for many of us to talk about. 

I invite you to do your own research: There are actually a lot of benefits to talking about end of life and death, preferable when there is no pressing reason to do so. 

Personally, I have found that having these kinds of conversations, reading books and watching documentaries on those topics has had multiple benefits for me, including valuing my own life even more.

Did you know that statistically, realistically, the vast majority of us will die of a chronic disease?

Per the National Institute of Health (nih.gov, search for PMID: 29494555 published 2018):

“More than two thirds of all deaths are caused by one or more of these five chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes……..chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S…….”

Given this likelihood, wouldn’t you want to know more about what to expect, how best to prepare? 

There is a lot to learn, consider and know to be an informed patient or caregiver and to be able to advocate for one’s own or a loved one’s goals and needs. 

Once one is affected by a chronic, severe illness, the physical and emotional reserves available to take in new information are usually more limited. 

If I could pick one book for everyone to read or listen to, to prepare for their own and their loved one’s end of life and death it would be this one: 

“A Beginner’s Guide to the End – Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death”, co-authored by BJ Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger.

It is a compassionate, honest and informative book which contains real life stories and insights, tips and fast facts throughout. There are five sections: Planning Ahead, Dealing with Illness, Help along the Way, When Death is Close and After.

FYI: Neither the authors nor the publisher know about this article and I am not getting any kickback.

I hope this article inspired you. 

Please consider supporting our local bookstores, rather than online options.

We are all in this together.

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