Giving a Loved One a Good Death
One of my good friends recommended the following YouTube video by Scott Galloway:
The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway
I then realized the name sounded familiar, so I looked at my anti-library and found that I had that book from Scott, but had not cracked it open. I'm so glad my friend put it on my radar because I learned a lot from Scott's book.
The one thing I learned and that I want to share in this article: how to give someone a good death.
Scott had to deal with it with his Mom who was diagnosed with metastatic stomach cancer. And through handling it with his Mom, he learned a few things along the way. I haven't had to deal with death in the way Scott has, but I know these lessons will make me re-think how I deal with death in the future, and in fact, rethink how I handle the limited time I have with loved ones now.
Scott went through old photos with his Mom and she shared stories from all the photos. Not only was this great for Scott, but it helped his Mom relive her happy memories.
Recently, I went through old photo albums with my Mom and my partner. Although a lot of the photos were embarrassing, I had to admit that my Mom (and my partner) received great joy from re-living (or living) the memories my Mom shared. I think this is a wonderful activity to do every few years with your loved ones.
How many times is too much to say "I love you" to your loved ones? No number is too much. Say it while you can. Do it right now. Do it the next time you talk to your loved ones. If you are going to regret anything, you will regret not saying it enough when your loved one is gone.
Set boundaries for yourself
Scott went to live with his Mom in her last months. But one day out of the week, Scott traveled back to get some normal semblance of his life. You can drop everything for your loved ones in their last days. Obviously, economics is a factor. But just having one day of the week where you take care of your own things gives you sanity.
Take care of the caregivers
Scott had an aunt who liked to gamble and drink. So in their 'off' time, they would go out to a casino and Scott would give her $100 to play $0.25 roulette. He didn't enjoy going out with her because she was wild. But he loved her because she helped his Mom shower in the mornings.
Scott's Mom loved watching TV: Frasier, Jeopardy, Friends, etc. So Scott would spend hours each day watching TV shows with his Mom.
When the last days come, what does your loved one enjoy doing? Crosswords? Reading books? Watching movies? Do whatever they enjoy.
Final thoughts and lessons for life
Reading through Scott's lessons that he learned from taking care of his Mom in her final days, I think there are a few lessons that we can all take away, and hopefully not when we have to deal with the last moments of a loved one:
- Take more photos - although printing out photos seems passe, my partner printed her photos and is keeping an album. There's something magical about taking out an album and flipping through the pages as opposed to scrolling on a screen through a digital album.
- Say "I love you" more - I don't think you will ever regret saying "I love you" to loved ones too much.
- Take an interest in your loved ones' friends and family - It is hard these days with everyone global, but even the small things are worth noticing. One Auntie of mine loves durian, so any time we meet, I buy durian for her, even though I don't love it as much myself. These little things help grow your relationship and improve your interactions.
- Hobbies - Our hobbies can change and grow so it is hard to adapt a lesson here into your life - what I will say is that if you share your hobbies with your loved ones (parents, friends, family), they are more likely to share theirs and knowing this ahead of time can help give you an idea of how to spend time around them.