Sunday, 29 April 2012 19:05
Just as we cannot wait to bring home a new baby, to bathe it in the warmth and love of “home,” so should we seek to bring home our dying.
Because the beginning of life and the end of life should be centered in the home. Home is our root, it is the baseline of our consciousness. Our earliest memories tend to be of events at our home, and so should be our last.
There is no comfort greater than that which can be created in our homes, if we but expend the energy to make it so. In our culture, working mothers and fathers take leave from work to be present at home with new life, and likewise, we should create structures in our society which allow us to be at home with others at the twilight of life- when precious lasts breaths are taken.
Why should we make this a priority?
Because 90% of Americans wish to die at home, yet nearly 80% of us die in medical institutions (see The 90-80 Dilemma). Can we not find ways to fulfill the wishes of those who are facing the end of life?
I know that we can, and we must, and because one day, the dying one will be you.
Finally, dying is one of the most emotional and profound life events we will ever experience, both for ourselves and those we love. The deepest moments and intimacies of life should be shared in private settings—not in sterile hospital rooms, among strangers and metal wires—all unnecessary intruders on this occasion.
So, I ask all who will listen to return to sanity: Let us bring our dying people home where they “belong.” We medical professionals will bring our best medicine to you (in the form of hospice care) so that life may end in the same way that it begins—held in the arms of those who love you, in the place you call home.
(Note: Dying at home requires planning and knowledge [otherwise you will likely die in a hospital or nursing home, the present default mode of our medical system] .
Monica Williams-Murphy, MD
(Picture source: Beloit Regional Hospice)