Death is an Achievement
I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and supervising MSW interns this year at my hospice job.
I’ve been supervising interns for many years and find it to be an excellent way to keep my skills sharp as well as help to inspire and educate young social workers. I find that 9/10 the interns end up loving end-of-life work and decide this is something they want to pursue in their career.
That warms my little social work heart.
And, also, I am sometimes so struck by the conversations that we have within supervision that it causes me to reflect and ponder for some time afterwards.
Recently, one of my interns shared with me a conversation that she had with the spouse of a patient. The patient was in his late 80’s* and expected to die within days to weeks.
The wife said, “I see death as an accomplishment.”
She explained that her husband had lived life fully. He felt fulfilled in his accomplishments, his relationships, and had gotten his affairs in order. As his health declined, he found ways to continue appreciating small moments and continued to express gratitude for his life.
“If you live your life well, then by all means, death becomes an accomplishment.”
I’m inspired by the words of this woman and the life lived by her husband. What might we each do to feel like we’ve lived our life well, with a perspective of gratitude, and a little preparation to help those left behind.
*The age of this patient is not insignificant as we know that it can be harder to feel that life was fully fulfilled when a person is of a younger age.