One thing. Priorities? In daily living, for the most part, priorities are an order of actions projected into the future. We assumed a predictable future stretching ahead, with the ability mentally, physically and emotionally to confidently move with intention, onwards. Raising a family, earning a living, cooking the next meal, planning an outing. However, when the future has been edited by circumstances there is a real, and urgent, question. What is the most important thing? Today, now? What gives living meaning. What is meaningful for somebody who is confined, to bed, a wheel chair, constant and unremitting pain, the prospect of an intolerable end of life scenario, mental/emotional limitations? While the Buddhist teaching, and really the only way to live, is to be present right here and right now, there is a before and there is an after.
I took the opportunity to listen to the Radio program I linked to in my previous post, David Schneider talks to palliative care consultant Kathryn Mannix. Fifteen minutes well spent, very well spent to be honest. David Schneider’s mother had recently died and he was clearly struggling with the whole issue of death and dying. Who hasn’t struggled with this? Having listened again I am reminded of a few reassuring points made in the program. So for those who are not able to access BBC radio (in North America for example) I’ve uploaded the program to my Dropbox account. Please do get in touch and I can send you the link, bug and virus free. Honest. Leave a comment or leave a message or write me directly if you have my email address already and I’ll let you have the link.
What I came away with having listened again is an ease around the process leading up to death and death itself. But especially now having information born of experience, Kathryn Mannix’s experience, of….well I’ll leave it to you to listen and take from it what you will. It doesn’t seem right to paraphrase her words.
This post is for those who have had a terminal illness thrown into their laps, their own or somebody close to them. Or who have been and are living with life limiting conditions. Young and older. One young man I’ve met comes to mind in particular.