This booklet draws together observations and recommendations made by a former old age medical consultant, a General Practitioner, a nurse with a special interest and experience in end of life care, and a Christian cognitive behavioural therapist, as well as findings from recent studies.
The believer’s view of death is different to that of non-believers: the one looks on it as a step to eternal life and joys unimaginable, and the other sees it as a full stop to life of any kind. In between there are those who have different beliefs as to what lies beyond death, but for every person on earth there is acknowledgement of one inescapable fact: everyone will experience the dying process. We will all know the dissolution of the ‘earthly tent’ (2 Corinthians 5:1).
The aim of this booklet is to encourage readers of all ages to have conversations about end of life care and dying with people who matter to them long before circumstances make it necessary.
When the time comes lots of things seem to happen at once, but the one thing you can do as a family is to decide on what is important to you, and be prepared well in advance. Then not only do you have a road-map that will help you navigate through unfamiliar and difficult terrain, but you will be able to avoid the regrets that can come when things are left too late. And thinking about the inevitability of death may prompt us to live life to the full, while we can.
People are often hesitant about bringing up the topic of end of life care with their parents or elderly relatives for fear they may upset them with thoughts of death, or even be seen to be anticipating the worst for them. But it can be an opportunity to reassure, to remind ourselves again of what Jesus did at Calvary for fallen humanity and for the reality of life with Him in Heaven. When He answered the thief who was dying on the cross next to His, Jesus told him that ‘today you will be with me in Paradise.’ Luke 23:43.