Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Knocking on Heaven's Door

"Knocking on Heaven's Door" By Katy Butler

The subtitile of this book is, "The Path to a Better Way of Death".  I was intrigued by the title.  It's not an easy book to get through but I did find it very interesting.  The author writes about her father's illness of dementia and how today our doctors do everything to postpone death for as long as possible.  We have become so afraid of death, taking great measures to prolong it but at what cost.  Gone are the days where people die at home amongst family and friends in the comfort of the place they know and love.  Most people die in a facility amongst wires and tubes and beeping and sterile environments.  There is a time and a place most definitley for life saving means but when is it become almost cruel?  This subject has so many facets to it with religion, morals, science, technology and love intertwined.  "How greateful are we for the gift of life and what are we willing to undergo for more of it?"  Often times in older people one life saving means or device leads to additional complications and the need for more life saving means.  I think we allow these things beccause we, the living, aren't ready to let go of the person dying.  "After the mid-1950s, the attitudes of many doctors and patients shifted from faith in God and acceptance of death to faith in medicine and resistance of death."  As we do more research and technology gets better our faith in medicine and what things it can do for us begins to deepen.  "Dying can be postponed, but aging cannot be cured."  Inevitable we all must die and we all age and with that comes the loss of many things.  Aging is just as inevitable as death.  "My father could no longer strive and do.  He could only love and be loved.  The race was run."  I think that is a beautiful picture of what the end of our lives should look like.  "...that as we all one by one quit this earth we may one by one re-form the family circle in Heaven."  Our ties are not severed when we leave this earth if we believe in Jesus, we will be reunited again and there is great comfort in that.  "Dying is hard on the dying.  Death is hard on the living."  The author is not a believer so this book isn't written from that perspective and has lots of medical history giving background to how we got to where we are today.  I don't agree with all of her thinking but I was intrigued and it got me thinking about the end stages of life and what that should perhaps look like.  I would be interested to hear your feedback and take on this book if you read it.  I'd love to have a discussion on it.  

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