BestEndings Flash Video Chat: Talking about dying

Impromptu End of Life conversation captured on video It started out as an experiment: there was a new video camera, an excuse to get together with a good friend who ‘does the lighting’ for movies and commercials. He makes everything look beautiful. And why not get in pizza and invite some friends, and get a proper lighting lesson and camera test.

Pizza topping had to take into account various cultures: Hindu, Muslim, Mexican-Catholic, Irish-Catholic, Anglican.

Chowing down, the ‘what’re you up to’s’ led to my continued interest in all things related to end of life. Sparked quite a convo!

And so a purpose was found and a flash video chat created. The result was too good not to post.

As always, I am indebted to the tweeps and communities dedicated to a dignified end of life, as free of suffering as possible: world-wide #hpm, #DWDchat, #EOLchat – information at the insanely helpful Symplur Healthcare Hashtags.

With props to my much esteemed fellow discussers:The Conversation Project, Death Cafes, Death over Dinner The question I posed: “Why is it so hard to talk about dying.”

Starring: Mike Houlahan, Sudhir and Ruth Handa, Colleen Young, Georgina Camacho Ibarra and Majid Ariannejad

It’s 12 minutes long, broken into 5 parts. Watch each separately, [...] continue the story

To live at all costs

October 2nd, 2012

My mom died almost three decades ago. She’d made it super clear to my sibs and I that her wish was to live at all costs. The thing is, none of us realized what those (human) ‘costs’ would be. And we’d never thought to explore what ‘quality’ meant to her life. A bit about my mom: She was a constant learner. Nothing made her happier than being immersed in a new subject. After my father died suddenly of a heart attack, she became associate producer for my documentary-producer brother. Their topics ranged from women with breast cancer (my mom was a survivor) to rapists and murderers. By the light of her eyes, and her proud demonstration of new jargon, you could practically see my mother’ s brain expanding. At age 65, mysterious ailments began to plague her body (she’d often lament: it ‘s such a shame that my body is deteriorating while my brain is becoming more honed)

The ailments were eventually linked to the real problem: a brain tumor. Suddenly, an inability to say the right words to make herself understood was put into a new and horrific light. Options were surgery and – if unsuccessful – radiation. [...] continue the story