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Why a Good Death Requires a Good Life

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from John P. Weiss.

My wife Nicole knows a lot about death.

She is a hospice nurse, providing care and comfort to those nearing the end of their lives. She also helps her loved ones navigate complex emotional constellations, from fear and confusion to acceptance and even relief.

After years of successfully managing her grandmother’s cancer, Nicole stepped away from work when she finally unleashed its deadly challenge. And Nicole’s grandfather got lung cancer. Again, she stepped in to provide end-of-life care.

Nicole says that in the final moments of patients and their loved ones, conversations are about love, memories, sometimes regrets, and heartfelt goodbyes. There’s no talk about all the other stuff you pour into your garage or storage unit.

Death is a profound teacher, but no one wants to enroll in the class.

We spend our lives pursuing money and possessions, but it’s not until later in the game that we realize that relationships, experiences, and passions feed our souls the most. I wish I had understood sooner.

I wish I had learned early on that a good death requires a good life.

good night

Lydia S. Dugdale, a physician at Columbia University, is an expert in medical ethics and the care of older patients. Dugdale’s book “The Lost Art of Dying: Resurrection of Forgotten Wisdom,” It claims that too many of us die poor.

Dr. Dugdale’s book was inspired by an ancient text written in the post-plague Middle Ages.the text known as Ars Moriendi — How to diepromotes the view that to die well one must first live well.

Ah review Notes for Dr. Dugdale’s book on BookBrowse.com:

“Our culture has over-medicalized death. Death is often institutionalized, sterile, and prolonged by unnecessary resuscitation and other interventional interventions. I’m not going to go in. Our dependence on modern medicine can actually prolong our suffering and rob us of our dignity.But our lives don’t have to end like this.”

Part of the problem is that we don’t want to think about death, so we don’t plan or prepare for it. We are postponing the creation of trusts, living wills and end-of-life health directives.

Worse, refusing to face death in contemplation prevents you from living your best life. We place too much emphasis on money, status, and possessions over health, relationships, and service to others.

This is where minimalism and simplicity come in handy. Simplify your life and get rid of the unnecessary things so you can focus more on what matters.

Dr. Dugdale says in his book:

“In fact, you can’t carry it around and your world will shrink at some point anyway, so start the habit of letting go of your stuff now.

There’s nothing wrong with ambition and success, but to live a good life, you need to accept a reminder in Latin moment mori, This means “remember you must die”.

It may sound depressing, but it is liberating.

Because if you take a good look at your life, you will see the burdens you carry. Inflating mortgages, endless car payments, credit card debt, jammed garages and more.

Deep personal reflection leads to other insights. Like social media distractions, cable news hysteria, unhealthy diets, and tons of hours spent making poor lifestyle choices.

What would our lives look like if we let go of these things and instead focused on health, relationships, education, creative passions, and helping others?

We have found that less is more

In 2016, as a busy law enforcement professional, I celebrated my 10th year as Chief of Police and my 26th year in police service. I was enjoying my career but tired of stress and politics.

Nicole’s work stories and experiences with her grandparents reminded her how short life is. I decided to retire early, even though he only has five years left to receive his full pension. I wanted more time with my family and wanted to continue writing.

To compensate for the loss of income due to early retirement, we embraced minimalism. We sold our house, moved to a more affordable state, and downsized.

Being organized, adopting a simple wardrobe, and getting rid of unnecessary things have improved my quality of life. A flexible schedule as a writer has allowed for more exercise, walking the dog, reading, and slow conversations with Nicole and her son.

We discovered that less is more. Little did we know how the positive changes in our lives would prepare us for what was to come next.

start living your best life

In 2021, Nicole discovered a lump in her breast and doctors confirmed it was breast cancer.we found ourselves thinking Momentary harpoon every day.

The whole year was inundated with appointments, tests, surgeries, follow-ups and treatments. Thankfully, the cancer was caught early and Nicole’s prognosis is good.

We traveled to Scotland this year to celebrate her recovery. We toured everywhere, visiting the Highlands, boating down lakes, exploring castles, enjoying the country and its lovely people.

A good death requires a good life. Warm memories of my trip to Scotland reflect life at its best.

There was a moment in Scotland when Nicole stood on an old bridge looking down at the river below.

I was moved by the sight and captured the beautiful moment in a photograph.

This picture is a reminder when we simplify, organize and accept. Momentary harpoon, we can unload the burdens we carry. You can paint a better future.

We can start living our best lives.


John P. Weiss is an artist and former police chief.and the author of What Life Is: An Elegant Essay About What Matters.he blog About living a more artistic life.

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