What a powerful show — I wanted more and more. Would you do a PBS program on this subject? Your program was so well constructed and gathered together so many diverse and meaningful voices. I have an incurable heart disease to which we are now turning to experimental modalities. I also suffer greatly with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I am around the clock on two different narcotics to cope with the pain: oxycodone and a fentantyl patch. My death is not imminent but certain. I have 15 family members who have died of heart-related diseases in the last two generations that I know of; my father was 40 and my mother was 56. Both died of sudden cardiac failure. My wife, a year after the first year of heart attacks (there have been maybe eight or more), decided to leave me not wanting to be with a sick man any longer. She had the "grace" to inform me she filed for divorce while I was in the hospital getting one of my five stents opened up again.
I have long been acquainted with the voices of Victor Frankl and Mary Oliver (she and Jan Graham are particular favorites of mine who delve into the mystery of this life and the next). I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so my understanding of death does not make it fearful to me. In fact there have been many days in the past almost three years that I would have welcomed it having been in the ICU/hospital 15 times, 15 angioplasties/angiograms. The pain is what I fear and the dehumanization of the hospital experience. My material possessions have all been taken. I welcome what and who I will greet as I pass through this life into the next — what is there is NOT a dark cabin to. In fact, at LDS funerals we bring our children. We want them to understand that this life is not the beginning nor the end. We do not shrink from death. That does not mean we do not mourn — we do — but we are not bereft of comfort although we are just as saddened as anyone by the loss — our loss not the person who died.
So why have I written this comment? Because I am amazed that no matter what the spiritual background or not it seems on this subject that for those who have worked closely with the dying (I also greatly admire Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) seem to find more commonality in the experience both for the dying and those offering care. I greatly respect and admire their care and compassion. And I was touched by this carefully crafted program that dealt with this — one of the great questions and mysteries of life — with such delicacy and touching beauty. Thank you! You have been a boon and a comfort on a couple of very difficult days.
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