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  • Sue Phillips

Reflections on Life and a Good Death

What do we mean when we say, “I hope they had a good death”? or when an End of Life Doula tells people how they “should plan for their death”. A good death can mean a person had little pain or perhaps they died doing something they were passionate about. Some may say that a “sudden death” is a good death because they didn’t suffer. It means something different to everyone.


For me a good death means I’ve had plenty of time on earth. The goal is 100 years with a healthy mind and body. I realize that healthy mind and body won’t mean the same things at 100 as it does at 68. I may have to use a walker and a wheelchair. Perhaps I’ll be using hearing aids (very likely at the rate I’m going) and my eyesight might be poor (already is). If I can move my body and my brain still has interests and can express them, I’m all good.


When my time comes, I hope for as little pain as possible. I hope to have someone nearby who knows me, who cares about my exit and who makes every effort to provide comfort as I go. I will want quiet music playing - my playlist will change as I move through those 100 years. Right now, I want Johnny Cash’s version of “We’ll Meet Again” playing at some point. I’ll include a diffuser – diffusing a mild scent – or it might even be the scent of patchouli which I can’t use now because my partner dislikes it intensely! I will want flowers, especially tiny bouquets of daisys, tulips and black-eyed Susan’s. I think autumn will be a good time to go – it's my favourite season with my favourite colours. I may have a reiki session as well. There are just some of the things that will help me have a good death.


There is much more to consider. Have you thought about it? Are there things you would like to tell someone? Maybe you can write a letter now, so they receive it after you are gone if it’s too difficult to do in person. Do you want to ask for forgiveness for something that happened in the past? Letters to loved ones are a beautiful legacy. It’s very worth your time to document your wishes, your legacy.


As I sit and write this piece I am watching and listening to the autumn leaves fall. They are showing us it is time to let go and perhaps that is simply what a good death is – having the ability to let go.


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