Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Education for Dying
For some time the phrase in English, 'well-being' was popular in Korea. Even commercial products received the name. Followed shortly after with 'healing' to a point where it became sickening to hear. We all desire to live well and receive healing but with the over use of these words, a university professor writing for the Peace Weekly, wonders if it will not have a contrary result.
'Well being' and 'healing' both have for their goals happiness and good health. For the professor, she wonders where does death fit into the picture. In life we have many situations where the beginning is important but the end is more so. Birth is important but not less important is death.
In sports and studies there is nothing like repeated practice to achieve proficiency, true also in life. To live well we need to learn about life and since death is a part of life we need to naturally learn about death. Where is the place of death in our lives? Since 'well being' is a part of life we can't separate it from death: 'well-dying' should be a part of 'well living'. Talk goes on about the need to extend the life of the incurable and the palliative care of the sick in hospices and related policies.
She feels that we are falling behind in education for death. We have some small groups doing it with difficulty. Education to be successful needs to be consistent, systematic, and adapted to the person's age. We need to learn how to live well and learning about death is part of the course and makes the end of life a beautiful chapter.
Visiting a hospital recently she remembers overhearing the talk of two interns in front of the emergency room. Apparently one of them was to determine the time of death of one of the sick persons and was finding the situation unnerving for it was his first time. If we have those who are specialists in the field with difficulties, easy to imagine how others would feel in a similar situation.
It is urgent that we make efforts to learn about death. It is all very natural to have a fear of death. Well being and healing, important as they are, needs some of that passion turned towards death.
If the new government is to raise the quality of our lives we have to begin education in death a need in order to live well.