A moving piece, combining two things close to my heart. Nature, and death. Nature for the obvious reason, and death for the not so obvious. Having supported a number of people, including my late wife, father, mother and some friends through the process of dying, I feel it to be more of a friend than foe. Here’s a great story about someone I never knew, but hope that this piece brings some peace, and opens new ways of understanding and coping with death. An important part of this story is that Eva felt that she had to escape the hospital. That is exactly what I’ve counseled everyone I’ve been with through this journey. Doctors rarely understand how to do the most Buddhist act of all, which is to surrender. Death is about surrender. Surrendering is power for the dying. It’s allowing a person to have control over and make the decisions about the one thing that we have to do on our own, which is to die. Our medical society has become a money machine, and medical staff many times don’t have the choice to allow the patient to surrender to death, as it means an end to the revenue stream of the organization. They plead the Hippocratic Oath as a shield rather than a guidepost. There are exceptions, of course. But it’s been my experience that our hospitals work to postpone death to wring every cent from the patient’s insurance. It is a bad situation, and I’ve seen it in every hospital I’ve been in. Hospice is not often valued as an option, only as a menu choice for those who have a taste for it, never really promoted as a choice. In America, you have to fight to die as you wish. And even if the patient does fight, often because culturally it’s not acceptable to die, their family fights their decision. We have a long way back to be able accept death into our culture.
Writer Eva Saulitis composed her progress toward death as gracefully as one of her poems, right up to her last breath, which she breathed with her family at home in Homer on Saturday afternoon.
Saulitis, 52, wrote in ADN’s We Alaskans about her approaching death from breast cancer in September and in a book she finished on the subject, titled “Becoming Earth,” to be published by Boreal Books.
Read the whole story, by Charles Wohlforth here: