"If today is the last day of your life, how would you like to live?"
I want to spend my time relaxing in a room with a view of the sea and ending my life. I want to spend my usual time with my family and go to sleep. There are various options, but I think some people may find it difficult to think about the ultimate question of "the end of life" with too much honesty. It's proof that you're healthy.
This book spells out the truth of life, derived from the experience of the author, a hospice doctor who cares for 2,800 patients. What do people do when they know that they are in the final stages of their life? Many people despair that it is difficult to reach the "tomorrow" that they thought would come of course. However, when he accepts despair and suffering and can deal with them, he will set a new stage. Find meaning in your life and see what role you played. I have a lot to do, but I don't have time to do it anymore. After that, I start thinking seriously about what is really important to me. In order to have a better last day, he says he will collect the strings of memory and look back on his life. Then find hope ahead of despair.
You will have various conflicts before you find hope. But what can I find at that time? When I think about it, I feel that my anxiety eases. When you have to deal with your suffering, the truth of life in this book will surely encourage you.
Main points of this book
When one approaches the end of life, one looks back on his life. And you can find something really important and have peace of mind. If even a healthy person is suffering or suffering, thinking "How would you live if today is the last day of your life?"
Even though different people have different views of life and death, the fact that "the existence of that person continues to live in the hearts of the remaining people even after the physical loss" is common.
[Must-read point!] Do not leave homework for yourself tomorrow
How you live the last day of your life
"If today is the last day of your life, how would you like to live?" When asked, different people will have different answers. Some people want to devote all their energy to the end, while others want to spend time with their loved ones.
People usually think that they have a tomorrow, so they can live with dreams and hopes. If you think you have no tomorrow in the face of death, it is the ultimate despair.
In addition to medical examinations and tests, the author's daily home visits are to help patients in distress to spend their days as calm as possible. In particular, I try to relieve the physical pain and suffering of people in the final stages of their lives.
In a situation where "there is little time left", one seriously considers "what is necessary to spend the end of life in a calm manner." And you'll become aware of what's really important to you. At that time, the author does not say to patients that "it is better to do △ △ than to do OO". To respect the "as is" they desire is the best happiness for that person.
What is the most important thing for me when I imagine how I want to live the last day of my life? It supports our lives and our hearts both when we are healthy and when we are about to die.
The hardest thing to do is to regret and leave this world
The reason why I want to put off what I want to do and what I have to do is because I think there is a tomorrow. However, when you see death in front of you, you can see what you really want to do and what you need to do.
The author has taken care of a "factually married" man who was living with a woman without joining the company. He tried to join him in the past, but he didn't realize it, and he regretted it shortly before his death. The authors' home-based palliative care team then moved towards that goal. A few days before he died, the marriage registration was accepted and a simple wedding was held in the hospital room. Partly because of the reward, the man calmly ended.
It's hard to do everything you want to do. However, if you're sure to regret it if you don't, it's a good idea to work on it now. As the end of life approaches, people start to think, "I will let go of what I cannot do." Then, he is relieved of the feelings that bound him and realizes his true happiness.
Realize what is really important before death
Have you ever experienced superiority or inferiority compared to other people's appearance and ability? Measuring the value of oneself by comparing with others is called "the value of comparison" here.
Comparison with other people has the advantage of being able to look at yourself objectively. But when comparisons add to the pain, imagine once, "today is the last day of your life."
In the face of death, the value of comparison makes no sense. No one can escape death, no matter how socially successful it is, and that success does not promise a peaceful final time. Many patients become sick and lose their future dreams, and worry about the meaning of their lives.
However, at such times, it is an opportunity to realize what is really important and to look at the role that I have played. It seems that many people look back, even though it is mediocre, saying, "My role was to protect my family as a parent." If you can affirm your own life in this way, people will always feel calm.
What to do on the last day of life
The last day is to convince life
Even when the last moment is approaching, if you notice your support, you can affirm your life and be calm. The support here is diverse, such as family, (caregivers other than the family, the existence of God, etc.) In addition, the person who was suffering said, "What I have cherished will be passed on across generations. Sometimes, when you realize that, you may recover calmness.
There is a life of people who died in hope of someone's happiness, and our present life is made up of it. As long as we are involved with people in society, our daily accumulation always influences someone's life.
Even if you have a lot of regrets, if you can convey your thoughts to future generations, people can leave this world with a calm feeling.
There is no mediocre and worthless person
It is difficult to find value in life when you are healthy. However, there is no one in the world who is ordinary and has no drama. There is always meaning in life.
The author once took care of a former Navy man in the Navy. He refused to give painful words such as "painful" and "spicy" and refused to take painkillers until the end. When he was young, he had lost two brothers in a war. Perhaps the person himself thought, "Compared to the pain suffered by the brothers, my pain is not so great" "I am happy that I lived a long life and had a family" is enough. The existence of his deceased brother might have been a supportive factor in his life. People are just there, they play a role.
One learns a lot from suffering
Suffering is never "evil"
Everyone is living with some kind of suffering. I don't like to suffer. Some might think, "It's better to die than to live in pain." But is it "suffering = unhappy"? I wonder if there is a way to stay alive while suffering.
From much of the nursing experience, the authors believe that is possible. Patients, who were in the final stages of their lives, realized that they were overwhelmed when they were healthy, such as the kindness of people, their bond with people, and the greatness of nature. He thought of what he was living for, found it, and eventually had real happiness and serenity.
Suffering is by no means just "bad." Faced with suffering, there is learning.
"Support" will come to you as the last day approaches
It is the gap between hope and reality that creates suffering. I want to walk with my own feet, but suffer from the inability to move freely. I have a lot of things I want to do, but the pain is that I have little time left. Thus, the greater the gap between hope and reality, the greater the suffering.
Some of the sufferings in the world can be resolved by closing the gap between hope and reality. Raise the reality and bring it closer to the ideal state. Treatment by a doctor can also help improve the patient's condition.
However, even with medical care and science, there are sufferings that cannot be resolved. There is no need to forcibly resolve such suffering. First, accept the fact that you are suffering that you cannot solve. When you think about "how to live calmly on top of it," you can realize the important presence and support.
Because what matters in life is not to solve suffering, but what to learn from suffering.
Writing to your loved ones makes you less afraid of death
In the author's clinic, "Dignity Therapy" is performed. It's about asking the patient to look back on their life. Specifically, there are nine questions such as "What is the most memorable event in your life?" "What do you want to convey to your important person?" Based on the answers, the patient and staff will complete the "letter to loved ones".
The purpose of this Dignity Therapy is twofold. The first is to give patients an opportunity to think about their lives. The other is to have this letter supported by those who are left behind.
If you follow your memory and find your own worth with this therapy, you will have a peaceful end. Also, by thinking about the theme that you want to convey to your loved ones, you will be more grateful to your family and friends. A letter that has been modified over time will be closer to the patient's feelings. Therefore, it becomes clear to the surviving people what their thoughts were before life and what they wanted to convey. Then, those who are left will be less worried and worried "Is there no regret?"
This Dignity Therapy is expected to be effective not only for those who are near death but also for those who are suffering.
What I learned from observing 2800 people
Having the dream is the "highest dignity" allowed by humans
Hoping for the future and envisioning future dreams are essential for humans to live in the "now." Even if you are suffering, you are often supported by the feeling that you have a tomorrow. This also applies to people in the final stages of life.
The author once treated a patient who said, "My grandson is still small, so I want to live until my grandson can remember my face." The dream of "I want my grandson to remember my face" helped me in my fight against illness.
No matter how desperate you may be, having a dream of the future is the highest dignity that humans have been allowed to do.
Existence lives on in the hearts of those left behind
Previously, the author's patient had a woman with two elementary school daughters. She is worried about leaving her daughters and cannot help. So the author asked what her mother was to her. Then I got the following reply. "I always thought about me first. I still feel like watching over me." What kind of words does her mother say to her now? She may be angry at me saying, "I'll keep going and keep looking down!" The author told her that: "Maybe you can always speak kindly and beside your daughter at times?"
Through this conversation, the patient noticed, "I can continue to be near my daughters even after my body has passed away." And he seems to have eased his fear of death.
The Christian author has the idea that "a person goes to heaven after his death," and "death is only a transit point in life." Of course, some people may have a different view of life and death. However, no matter what the view of life and death, the fact that "even if the body passes away from the world, the existence of that person continues to live in the hearts of those who are left behind" remains unchanged.
Recommendation of reading
After reading, ask yourself again, "If today is the last day of your life, how would you like to live?" In the case of a recapitulator, I don't get an easy answer, but I think I've come to take it as my own thing. This book will serve as a basis for you to find "what really matters to you" over time.