I’m known for playing a character lacking in emotion, but this issue is about human compassion for those suffering and dying. It’s maybe the most important issue you’ve not heard much about, Death with Dignity.
-Leonard Nimoy, in a PSA he did to help the Massachusetts effort
Seeing Leonard Nimoy’s video about the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative warmed my heart (you can view the whole video on Dignity 2012′s Facebook page). Nimoy hails from Boston, and with his celebrity and commitment to improving end-of-life options in his home state, he’ll help many others understand what it means to die with dignity.
As he says in the opening sequence of the video, Death with Dignity laws aren’t part of people’s lives most of the time. Heck, as a society we’re really good at avoiding even the general topic of death the majority of the time. For those not in a field related to end-of-life care, death happens to force its way into people’s consciousness only periodically—when writing a student essay about it, facing death as a loved one dies, or contemplating mortality because of a single experience or diagnosis. But what if death were discussed more often?
Without being more open about discussing death and dying, many people are dying having never heard about end-of-life resources like hospice and palliative care and enduring invasive procedures they didn’t want because they didn’t tell their loved ones about their end-of-life care wishes. More than ever, people are spending their final days in an environment where none of us want to end up: the ICU. What a tragedy. By avoiding talking about death, people are actually suffering more as they die.
Thankfully, Nimoy isn’t the only celebrity willing to talk about the realities of dying. A few weeks back, columnist, Ellen Goodman helped launch The Conversation Project, and she’s been joined by several of her peers in the media, including Diane Sawyer and Tom Brokaw, to bring end-of-life care discussions out into the open.
It’s not that celebrities have more knowledge about end-of-life issues than the rest of us, but they have a way to get the information out to a much larger audience. Hopefully, as well-known individuals continue to have these public conversations, death will be a subject our society won’t be as eager to avoid. Talking more about the end of our lives and how we want to live them will lead us to knowing more about our options, and in the end, that knowledge can help us all die better.
View full post on Death with Dignity National Center
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