By Dr Kerry Jones
These were the words spoken repeatedly by someone anticipating the end of their life, yearning for it, but not achieving it, that is not when they felt it should happen. Their life was a long life which ended in hospital and was preceded by considerable time in a ‘care’ home. Except it wasn’t really their home, not the one they wanted which was to be surrounded by friends and family already long dead. The preference we hear is to die at home, but where then for those whose ideal ending is not at home because it feels like it belongs to someone else and is shared by many, several of whom represent strangers? The hospital then was the departing place, a site of visitation, of cards that could be left as tokens of gratitude for warm hugs through long nights and of long days in the park and the invitation to say goodbye, to let go, to be at ease and return to those long since gone… to go into that good night.
There is no perfect place to die, at least not yet…..we have a long way to go. It is something we are striving to achieve, that and a good death and whatever that means to who and for what reason. Yet, if death invites and brings compassion, gratitude and a real sense of having felt and known a treasured other, then that will have to do for now.