Oakland church

End of Life Planning

Dear Ones,Fall-Thanksgiving-Maple-Leaf-sun-orange-300x235

One might expect that my vacation to Cartagena Colombia,  on the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean coast, would be a relaxing fairy-tale romantic experience. However, the truth was, it was a sad, complex, and meaningful experience of saying farewell to someone I love.

This Sunday, I want to invite us into a deeper conversation, an important conversation about the end of life. Not only for our aging parents and grandparents, but for ourselves.

As part of this conversation, I’d like to lift up these resources.  First, the outstanding  NY Times best seller, entitled, Being Mortal“, written by author and surgeon,  Dr Atul Gawande. The book explores the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors — himself included — are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.

Second, in 2015, Frontline created a documentary, exploring the importance of having conversations about end of life decisions before facing a critical illness. Here’s a link:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/being-mortal/

Next,  attached is a link to the website, Family Caregiving Alliance, entitled, holding on and letting go, with helpful resources and questions:
https://www.caregiver.org/advanced-illness-holding-on-letting-go

Finally, I leave you with a beautiful poem about holding on and letting by Mary Oliver, entitled “Blackwater Woods”

I look forward to sharing in these conversations with you this Sunday.
Blessings,

Pastor Laurie
In Blackwater Woods

by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.

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