Facing Death Reflections

The documentary last evening, Facing Death, provided the impetus for viewers' profound discussion about end-of-life challenges and conversations.

Providing a sobering real-life glimpse into Mt. Sinai's ICU and how the subject of death is handled with patients and loved ones, the video begged many questions: How much medical treatment is enough? How can we allow our loved ones to die a "natural" death without seeking all of the avenues of treatment just because they are offered or because we would feel guilty not to? How do we withdraw life support without feeling this same sense of guilt? What is of most importance: quality or quantity of life? Is a "good death" possible after torturous, failed treatments?

Documentaries such as Facing Death help us explore what death and dying looks like in our society today. Exposure to these realities creates the space for us to formulate a picture of how we want to prepare for our own death. Conversations with each other and our loved ones are essential to this process.

It was so moving to be in the midst of individuals last evening who demonstrated courage in being open to moving beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones surrounding these difficult end-of-life issues. Thank you for your heartfelt sharing and illuminating perspectives.

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