Aligned in death

a good deathDeath is a certainty for all of us, but the “where” and “how” are increasingly our own choice. I’ve been in the room for a handful of deaths and have heard clients and friends recounting stories about many more. Contrary to what some may believe, there are good deaths. Hildy’s was one. Hildy was the elderly neighbor that my husband, Peter, and I cared for. Her death at age 86 was quite remarkable. She was at home, in her own bed. She had ceased eating and drinking a few days before. Her breathing was not labored but slow, intermittent and shallow. Although she could not talk, we were told she wasn’t in any pain. Her favorite music was playing. The window shades were open to reveal her lovely rose garden. Her friends and neighbors had been by, one by one, to visit and let Hildy know how much she was loved. Her husband, Fred, was not anguished. He held Hildy’s hand lovingly, expressed his devotion and reminisced about the good times during their 60-plus years of marriage. ...

My whine moment

whiningFor those who know me, I am more apt to have a “wine” moment than a “whine” moment, but every so often you just gotta give in to complaining. Even though I consider myself to be in good health physical ailments can still be a bother. For me of late, it’s been my shoulder. Several years ago, I was in my house playing catch with the dog and tripped and fell, dislocating and breaking my right shoulder. My husband would be the first to say he told me not to run in the house, but it happened. Five years after the injury, I’m still in pain. Come to find out, injuries like a broken shoulder can result in joint damage and cause post-traumatic arthritis. And a body can compensate for a once-broken bone in not-so healthy ways—like when other body parts take over for the injured area, thereby creating new problems. My shoulder hurts when I reach up for a dish in the cupboard, when I stretch my arms to fold sheets and towels, and when I put my arm around my husband or my dog. These little...

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